Apartments to offer `world-class living'

Mayor stresses choice of minority-led developer

May 23, 2002|By Scott Calvert | Scott Calvert,SUN STAFF

If all goes as planned, the Zenith residential tower will open in 2004 with 165 apartments, a 24-hour restaurant, secure parking and panoramic views of Oriole Park at Camden Yards across the street.

The $34 million, 21-story complex will offer "a world-class living experience" with 24-hour concierge service, developer Brian D. Morris of Legacy Harrison Development said at a news conference yesterday.

Mayor Martin O'Malley stood with Morris on the city-owned parking lot at Pratt and Paca streets to announce that the city had chosen Morris' team to develop the land.

But some details need to be ironed out. One is whether the city would offer incentives such as property tax breaks. The city and developer have to negotiate an agreement.

Most of the talk yesterday focused on the big picture. O'Malley stressed the choice of a minority-led development team. Legacy Harrison is co-owned by Morris and Dean S. Harrison, both African-Americans.

A junior partner in the deal, Lambda Development, is co-led by Ronald Lipscomb, an African-American whose construction firm, Doracon Contracting Inc., is to build the Zenith.

"This is a major statement [that] we do what we say and say what we mean," O'Malley said, referring to his past pledges that minority-owned firms receive a sizable share of the west-side revitalization.

If conceptual drawings are any indication of the final product, the Zenith would be an eye-catcher with sleek lines looming above motorists driving into the city from the south.

"You will not miss the building that will be on this site," said M.J. "Jay" Brodie, president of Baltimore Development Corp., the city's economic development agency. "It's going to say, architecturally, `Welcome to Baltimore, hon, you're here.'"

To the south are Camden Yards and the Ravens stadium; to the north and west, the University of Maryland and University of Maryland Medical System. Downtown and the Inner Harbor lie to the east.

"We're very bullish on Baltimore, especially this location," said Harrison, whose team's bid beat three other proposals.

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