Development team seeks second try on project

Group that rejected former Bainbridge site to present plans Dec. 8

November 30, 2003|By Ted Shelsby | Ted Shelsby,SUN STAFF

The development team that walked away from a plan to redevelop the former Bainbridge Naval Training Center in Port Deposit wants a new chance to present its ideas for the 1,200- acre site.

"The Manekin team will give a presentation of its plans [for the property] Dec. 8," Cynthia Rossetti, chairwoman of Bainbridge Development Corp., announced Thursday.

She said the meeting would be held at 7 p.m. in the Technology Center at Cecil Community College in North East.

Rossetti said she did not know the details of the Manekin team's presentation, but she assumed that it would cover the team's plans for the entire site, including the Berkshire tract, which was to be the location of a technology park.

In addition to the technology park, the Manekin team was negotiating with the development corporation for the right to develop the other 700 acres of Bainbridge.

This portion of the property was to house a residential section along with a retirement center, a hotel, museum, library and a veterans cemetery.

After Richard Alter, president of Manekin LLC in Columbia, said the development team was leaving Bainbridge, Rossetti said she received inquiries from representatives of other companies, include the Rouse Co. of Columbia; Kinsley Properties of York, Pa., and Lowe Enterprises Community Development Inc. of Reston, Va.

She said she planned for the board to also hear presentations from these companies if they decide to offer plans for the property.

The development corporation is a quasi-public agency formed by the General Assembly in 1999 to oversee the development of the former Navy boot camp, which closed in 1976.

The Manekin team is made up of Alter; Clark Turner, president of Bel Air-based Clark Turner Cos.; and John Paterakis, a commercial developer in Baltimore.

The group had proposed building a 500-acre technology park at the property, which is on a hill overlooking the Susquehanna River.

The park was to have housed Berkshire Laboratories Inc., a small, privately funded Columbus, Ohio, company with patented technology that it says could lure other companies to Bainbridge and create about 3,000 high-paying jobs.

The Manekin team, which had exclusive negotiating rights with the BDC for any development at Bainbridge, gave up on the project this month when the BDC postponed a meeting during which it was expected to vote on the proposal.

Quick decision

Alter said at the time that Berkshire needed a decision quickly so that it could present its plan to a group of financial backers. Berkshire officials call the company's work "spectral science."

Proponents of the company say Berkshire has the potential to put the United States out in front of the world in a variety of areas, including computer data storage techniques, plant growth and semiconductors.

`Home run' for state

During a visit to Bainbridge in September, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. endorsed the Berkshire and Manekin plan, saying it could be an economic development "home run" for the state.

The governor was joined by Aris Melissaratos, secretary of state Department of Business and Economic Development, who said that Bainbridge would be the largest or second-largest development in the state.

Bainbridge Naval Training Center was once an economic center of Cecil County.

During its heyday, during and shortly after World War II, more than 55,000 military and civilian personnel were stationed there.

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