Cordish to buy Power Plant Live, parking garage

Company would pay city $5.5 million, aims for `a cohesive project'

January 16, 2002|By Meredith Cohn | Meredith Cohn,SUN STAFF

With renovations on its Power Plant Live entertainment complex nearly complete, the Cordish Co. plans to buy the property from the city along with a neighboring parking garage for $5.5 million, according to the Baltimore Development Corp. and the company.

The city's Board of Estimates is scheduled to vote on the sale today.

Baltimore-based Cordish has wanted to buy Power Plant Live, formerly called the Brokerage, since it gained control of the property under a long-term lease with the city in December 1999.

"We're excited to take full control of Power Plant Live," said Reed Cordish, a vice president of the Cordish Co.

"Our objective from the beginning stages of development was to create a cohesive project that supported every aspect of the complex. Our first objective will be to upgrade the garage to a level consistent with the rest of Power Plant Live."

The company has spent more than $11 million to upgrade 34 Market Place, a 300,000-square- foot property a block off the Inner Harbor, into a series of bars, restaurants and offices that opened last year, according to the BDC, the city's development arm, which negotiated the lease.

Selling the property and the Frederick Street garage to the developer as one unit will "enhance the likelihood of success for the project and for the revitalization of the overall marketplace area," according to a summary the BDC submitted to the city board.

The BDC also said that the city would get a lump-sum payment of $2 million, instead of the $1.6 million that the lease payments would likely have amounted to over its 75-year term. The lease projections are far lower than the $1.9 million over 20 years that city officials said two years ago that the lease would produce.

Under that lease, Cordish is paying 25 percent of gross revenue in rent, less the company's expenses and a 4.5 percent management fee. The company was also guaranteed a 16 percent return on project costs before it had to pay rent.

Cordish has proposed paying $3.5 million for the garage, which it does not control under its lease. The company would also spend $700,000 to upgrade the 275-car facility.

The garage was appraised by the city in September 2001 for $3.8 million. But BDC said it needed at least $410,000 in repair work.

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