$215,000 OK'd to relocate five city businesses

Moves to make way for downtown renewal

February 21, 2002|By Caitlin Francke | Caitlin Francke,SUN STAFF

The Board of Estimates approved yesterday more than $215,000 in payments for five merchants to move their businesses to make way for downtown development.

As part of the west-side development initiative, the city will pay $193,270 to relocate a liquor store, hair salon and another business.

Under the arrangement, People's Liquors, formerly at 20 N. Howard St., will receive $80,850 to relocate to 409 W. Baltimore St. The store's former neighbor, Baltimore Studio of Hair Design, will get $92,910 to open a new store three blocks away, at 318 N. Howard St.

The third business is Dirt Studios, formerly of 318 W. Baltimore St., which will receive $19,510 for moving and other expenses. It has relocated to 2980 Falls Road, according to city records.

Closer to the Inner Harbor, the city will pay Williamson Legal Search, which was at 117 Water St., $22,673 to move to create room for a 500-space parking garage on Calvert Street at Lombard Street.

The board also approved $1,673 for Twister's nightclub, at 36 S. Calvert St., for the remaining value in its liquor license and real estate expenses. In January, the city signed off on $93,600 in relocation costs for the club.

"Economic development is expensive," said Mayor Martin O'Malley. "A shrinking city is more expensive."

In other business, the board approved spending up to $285,000 to renovate the basement of The Atrium apartments in the former Hecht Co. department store, 118 N. Howard St., for a police substation. About 50 Central District officers work out of the substation, which opened in November.

M.J. Brodie, president of Baltimore Development Corp., the city's quasi-public development arm, said of the substation: "Hopefully, [the police] presence will be a message that we are serious about public safety."

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