Kennedy Krieger ready to expand

Final parcels acquired for medical center

work to begin April 15

March 11, 2002|By Nora Achrati | Nora Achrati,SUN STAFF

The Kennedy Krieger Institute, an international center for children with developmental disabilities, has acquired the last plots of land needed to expand its medical center and build a new parking garage in East Baltimore.

The Board of Estimates approved last week the institute's purchase of 12 vacant properties for $84,318. The properties are bounded by North Broadway, Ashland Avenue, East Madison Street and Rutland Avenue.

The area, about a block from Kennedy Krieger's main building on North Broadway, will be developed into a four-story medical center and an 800-space underground parking garage. The new Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Building will house intensive inpatient and outpatient behavioral health programs and services for children with feeding disorders.

The institute will break ground April 15 and expects to open the center in January 2004.

Institute spokeswoman Julie Lincoln said the center is expected to generate 400 to 500 jobs. Kennedy Krieger has been acquiring property from private citizens in the area for 12 years, Lincoln said.

"We have a variety of outpatient clinics all over the city now," Lincoln said. "This will create a variety of jobs: therapists, health professionals, paraprofessionals."

The acquisition completes the city's end of a bargain with the Johns Hopkins University and Kennedy Krieger Institute to provide land for expansion.

All the parcels are within the Baltimore empowerment zone, a federally designated area where companies can receive economic benefits such as tax breaks and reduced-rate loans.

"These are lands we finally got the titles clear on," said Housing and Community Development spokesman John Wesley. "This is just a transference of that land as promised a year ago."

Local organizations are keeping track of Kennedy Krieger's growth and other area biotech projects.

"Kennedy Krieger Institute expansion has been a topic of quite a bit of interest in the area," said Douglas McWilliams of the Historic East Baltimore Community Action Coalition. "It's spilling over into a broader revitalization of East Baltimore."

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