New team to run Inner Harbor berths

Marine Associates LLC chosen to run 158-slip marina on Key Highway

December 09, 2004|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,SUN STAFF

Baltimore development officials tapped a new team yesterday to run Inner Harbor Marina - the first change in management at the city-owned marina in 28 years.

The Baltimore Development Corp. selected Baltimore-based Marine Associates LLC, in which Baltimore Marine Center at Lighthouse Point in Canton has a 45 percent ownership, attorney Edward Hitchcock a 45 percent ownership and bank executive Joseph Haskins a 10 percent stake.

BDC officials said they chose Marine Associates from among six bidders to run the 158-slip marina on Key Highway because of team member Dr. Selvin Passen's experience running marinas in Canton, including Baltimore Marine Center and the adjacent shipyard marina. Both are owned and operated by East Harbor Marine Center LLC, in which Passen is a managing partner.

The team was also selected because of the minority ownership participation of Hitchcock, an attorney with Gordon Feinblatt, Rothman, Hoffberger & Hollander LLC, and Haskins, president and CEO of Harbor Bank of Maryland.

The BDC said the team also proposed the highest base rent and revenue sharing for the city and the best package of amenities for boat owners, including cable TV, wireless Internet access, laundry facilities and access to the pool, cabana club, health club and parking at Baltimore Marine Center. Additionally, Marine Associates would renovate the bathhouse, laundry and office facilities in the building it shares with the Rusty Scupper restaurant, install a new security system and upgrade the slips.

"Our plan is to promote as much as possible the harbor as a boating mecca for boating tourism," Passen said yesterday. "It's a major tourist spot and one of the best natural harbors on the East Coast, and we want to bring as much boating there as we can."

The current marina operator, Inner Harbor Marina of Baltimore, was founded in 1976 by Kenneth O. Wilson, a Baltimore businessman, developer and former Afro-American newspapers executive who died in June. The company, which was one of the bidders, is now run by Stephen McBride, principal shareholder and a former vice president and general manager for Wilson. McBride could not be reached for comment yesterday.

"We didn't do the RFP [request for proposals] because we were dissatisfied with the current owner or the way they operated," said Andrew Frank, BDC executive vice president and interim Inner Harbor coordinator. "The lease expired, and it's city policy to advertise through a competitive public process. The winning team was very competitive in rent, providing a return to the city."

The city had also received proposals from the operator of the Inner Harbor East Marina in partnership with H&S Properties; Westrec, a California company; and two individuals.

The BDC will enter a 60-day negotiating period with Marine Associates to structure a contract under which the operator will pay the city a base rent plus a percentage of operating revenue, Frank said. The seven-year contract, which must be approved by the city's Board of Estimates, will take effect early next year.

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