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April 10, 2005|By Jill Rosen

BettyJean Murphy

Occupation: Principal, Savannah Development Corp., an 18-year-old Baltimore real estate development firm specializing in converting buildings into affordable housing and senior centers.

In the news: Savannah has proposed a building with 74 condominiums on 2.5 acres of the city-owned Canton Waterfront Park. Although Murphy is proposing to build on a portion of the property that is used as a parking lot, city and community leaders are reluctant to see the public waterfront land go to public use, particularly land that is so close to the state's Korean War Memorial.

Career highlights: Murphy is one of Baltimore's first African-American women to own a development firm. One of her projects was converting the former Louisa May Alcott Elementary School building on Reisterstown Road in 1987 into Alcott Place, a senior housing development. In 2000, she turned a vacant building at 300 N. Charles into loft apartments. Murphy's Coel-Grant-Higgs Senior Center opened two years later in East Baltimore.

Personal: Murphy was born in Atlanta and raised in New York. She graduated from Flushing High School and earned a bachelor's degree in political science from Hunter College. A former real estate agent, Murphy is the mother of four children and the grandmother of five. She lives in Mount Washington.

Philosophy: "The development business is about risk assessment. ... We have always been community builders."

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