Va. developer to build condos at Canton Crossing

KSI has experience in mixed-use projects

October 16, 2004|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,SUN STAFF

A Virginia-based developer of planned residential communities and mixed-use projects will build the hundreds of upscale condominiums proposed for Canton Crossing, a $500 million project under development by Baltimore banker Edwin F. Hale Sr. in the heart of Canton's industrial waterfront.

Hale, whose company, Hale Properties, is building the residential, retail and office community at Boston and Clinton streets, sought late last month to vastly expand the housing component, boosting the number of proposed condos from 100 to 504.

Hale said yesterday that he chose KSI Services Inc., based in Vienna, Va., to develop the housing portion of the project because of the company's work in developing residential and commercial mixed-use developments and, just as importantly, its expertise in urban revitalization.

"That's what Canton Crossing is all about," said Hale, chairman of First Mariner Bank and owner of the Baltimore Blast soccer team.

He said he chose KSI from among four interested bidders, in part because of his familiarity with the company in previous relationships as its banker.

"I've known them to be quality builders and good people," he said.

KSI, which has a contract to buy 1.5 acres in the southeast corner of the property and said it has construction financing lined up, will build condos in three towers, each of which will sit on a five-story parking deck.

The company will also develop 120,000 square feet of restaurant space throughout the property - double what was initially proposed. Leases for retail tenants have not yet been completed.

Rick Hausler, president of KSI, said the retail will include "a blend of things that are fun and will attract people who come to enjoy the waterfront and those that are necessary for the people who live at Canton Crossing."

Hale still needs City Council approval to increase the number of condos and restaurant space from the 100 residences and 50,000 square feet of restaurants currently allowed under its planned unit development, which also includes 1.7 million square feet of office space, 450 hotel rooms and 450,000 square feet of shops. In addition, plans call for a cruise ship terminal, if the state selects Canton Crossing for that purpose - or a 244-slip marina. The City Council is expected to vote on the changes by the end of the year.

Hale's revisions also are under review by the city's Design Advisory Panel.

Construction has already begun on the centerpiece building and tallest structure, a 17-story, 510,000-square-foot office tower, which is half leased. It is expected to be completed in 2006. An 80,000-square-foot office building has also been built. It houses First Mariner's headquarters and a bank branch and sits adjacent to a freestanding Merritt Athletic Club.

Robert C. Kettler, founder and chairman of KSI, said in a statement that he shares Hale's vision for transforming the gritty landscape into a place where people can live, visit parks, restaurants and shops.

The condos, which will be upscale with harbor views and amenities such as a concierge, are expected to attract buyers in both the Baltimore and Washington markets, including D.C. commuters, Hausler said. He said he expects to start construction by early 2006.

"Baltimore is as close to Washington as many of Washington's western and southern suburbs," Hausler said. "Baltimore is a great city and Canton is a great neighborhood. You add waterfront to that, and it's an experience that can't be matched."

KSI, which generates $500 million annually from real estate development and management, develops, constructs and manages planned residential communities, apartments and commercial mixed-use developments. KSI has projects in Rockville, Silver Spring, Largo, Gaithersburg and Germantown.

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