Bohager's expecting to be open rest of year

More fun to be had before the high-rises arrive

April 05, 2003|By Meredith Cohn | Meredith Cohn,SUN STAFF

The lights will stay on, the beer will keep flowing and the bands will keep playing at Bohager's nightclub at least until the end of the year before closing to make way for a residential development, the bar's owner said yesterday.

Damian Bohager, 51, said he's not sure what his next endeavor will be, but it will not likely be another megabar. It could be a smaller restaurant and bar like the kind found in Canton or Georgetown. He's also had offers to partner with others on projects.

"I've been doing this for 11 years," Bohager said. "I recently determined that, long term, the highest and best use of this property is not a nightclub and a bar." He said business at the bar on a mostly industrial stretch between Inner Harbor East and Fells Point has been good in the past year, but the character of the area has been changing to more sedate kinds of establishments. He said he wanted to make room for them.

Bohager has also tussled with neighbors and law enforcement officials since moving the megabar - which can hold about 1,250 people - into the spot at 701 S. Eden St. in 1999, from a location a few blocks away.

So, Bohager said, he was receptive when he was approached about a year ago to see if he would sell. His property is under contract to developers who plan upscale apartments and condominiums atop parking garages and shops. He would not disclose the sale price.

Land records show he paid $250,000 for the 1.17-acre property, but it is likely worth substantially more since developments have sprung up around it.

The new development still must gain approvals from the city. Developers, however, hope to break ground on an unused part of the property by summer.

Members of the city's Design Advisory Panel, which recommends architectural changes, heard details for the first time Thursday and offered criticism. The panel has not yet scheduled another public meeting.

Kay Hogan, president of the Fells Point Homeowners Association, said area residents oppose the density of the proposal, which calls for two buildings, one that could rise 10 stories and the other that could rise 13.

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