City and state officials said yesterday that they will likely contribute millions of dollars to bolster a $90 million Fells Point development that they hope will spread the boom of the Inner Harbor to the east.
Gov. Parris N. Glendening, speaking yesterday at a ceremony to mark the commencement of the Fells Landing project, said the state will contribute funds for the site's bulkhead and public promenade.
Those infrastructure projects are expected to cost $6.5 million to $7 million, and a spokesman for Glendening said the state is willing to be a "significant player" but that the city will also have to come up with funds.
The complex, which will include a warehouse-style waterfront office building, retail and residential space and a 750-car garage, is being developed by Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse Inc. and H&S Properties Development Corp.
The project got a big boost with the decision of RTKL Associates Inc., one of the world's top five architectural firms, to move its headquarters to the 220,000-square- foot office building it designed, to be known as Bond Street Wharf.
RTKL, which has 14 offices worldwide, is expected to move 225 employees from the Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown tower, at 1 South St., to the six-story, red-brick building at Thames and Bond streets in the summer of next year, when the garage, across Thames at Caroline Street, also is scheduled to be completed.
The retail and residential components of the development are expected to be finished about six months later.
M. J. "Jay" Brodie, president of Baltimore Development Corp., said it is too early to say how much money the city will provide, although a large chunk is expected to come from tax increment financing. Under that mechanism, the city raises funds by selling bonds and then uses the increased tax revenue from the designated project to pay them off.
Baltimore won approval for such financing in last year's General Assembly session; other cities and counties in the state have been using it for years. The City Council must still approve the measure for the Fells Point project.
The city will spend about $3.5 million for road improvements on Thames and Caroline streets.
Mayor Martin O'Malley said the city approached RTKL a year ago and said it "positively" had to remain in the city.
"To put it mildly, we were groveling," O'Malley said. "RTKL is leading the way and sending a message that they are committed to Baltimore's comeback."
Harold L. Adams, chairman of RTKL, said of the move: "We're not leaving downtown, we're expanding downtown."
Dominik Eckenstein, president of the Fells Point Business Association and owner of the Admiral Fell Inn, said most concerns - such as parking and traffic - have been addressed and that businesses welcome the new development.
Fells Point Homeowners Association President Kay Hogan said it was clear there would be some sort of development on the site - currently a parking lot - and that she thinks Struever Bros. has been sensitive to the aesthetic and infrastructure concerns of the community.