Panel approves two land deals in E. Baltimore

April 29, 2004|By Doug Donovan | Doug Donovan,SUN STAFF

The city Board of Estimates unanimously approved two land deals yesterday that advance development prospects that are considered important to East Baltimore's revitalization.

A private developer and a nonprofit development agency received technical control of two parcels north of Johns Hopkins medical complex, where the city hopes to create a biotech park.

The first deal was a promise to sell 77 housing units to Collington Partners in an area bordered by the 2200 blocks of E. Biddle St. and Mura St. and the 1200 blocks of N. Collington Ave. and N. Patterson Park Ave. The $206,000 sale is contingent on the developer's ability to win $12 million in federal tax credits.

"One of the things we have to show is that we have site control" in order to win the tax credits, said Kevin V. Bell of Collington Partners. Bell said his group has devised a $16 million proposal to demolish the existing units and build 103 affordable houses. They would target people relocated by the East Baltimore development initiative and those who may fill blue-collar jobs expected to be generated by the biotech park.

The other deal approved gave the East Baltimore Development Inc. authority over the park's 80-acre target site north of Johns Hopkins Hospital.

The approval clears the organization to negotiate as the official representative of the initial phase of the project that involves 20 acres bounded by Broadway on the west, Madison Street on the south, Washington Street on the east and Eager Street on the north.

Seven teams of developers are vying to build the initial phase, which may include three life sciences buildings, a 1,400-car parking garage, ground-floor retail space and a minimum of 300 residential units.

Housing Commissioner Paul T. Graziano said both approvals are "extremely significant."

"They represent the kicking off of real development," Graziano said. "It reinforces the commitment the city has made to this community."

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