A smaller Ritz-Carlton could be proposed today

City design panel receiving new plan

Inner Harbor

May 18, 2000|By Meredith Cohn | Meredith Cohn,SUN STAFF

Developers of a Ritz-Carlton hotel in the Inner Harbor will present another plan to city design reviewers today that may call for a smaller project than originally proposed.

The developers, who've generated several plans for the luxury hotel to appease local officials and residents concerned about preserving the area's views and character, will make a pitch to the city's Design Advisory Panel. Panel members will make a recommendation to city planners, once they've seen the project's concept, said Bob Quilter, an architect in the city's planning department and coordinator for the panel.

Quilter said he has not seen the latest revamped plan, but said he believes that developers will eliminate the office component from the $100 million project, which was slated to have 250 rooms, 75 condominiums and ballrooms.

He said, despite all of the plans floated for the hotel, including an official concept presented to the design panel in November, the developers were still at the beginning of the approval process.

"Really, they haven't gotten off the ground yet," Quilter said.

The hotel's original developer, Neil Fisher of Florida, left the project after The Sun reported that he had no apparent assets, was resisting payment of fraud judgment against him and had past development failures.

Edward V. Giannasca II, vice president of HV Development & Contracting Co. is leading a new time, working with the upscale HarborView project on Key Highway. He did not return phone calls.

A Ritz-Carlton spokeswoman said the hotel chain has not committed to lending its name to the proposed project. But Vivian Deuschl, vice president for public relations, said, "We're very much looking at a hotel in Baltimore. It's a place we want to be."

Deuschl did say that the hotel management company provides significant input into the designs of its hotels. There are 36 Ritz-Carltons, all of which have a different look depending on the community, historic considerations and the owners' wishes.

The Baltimore hotel is being designed by Princeton, N.J., architect Michael Graves. The firm referred all calls to the developers.

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