Trade center lease may change

August 03, 2005|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

To ease the possible sale of Baltimore's waterfront skyscraper, the World Trade Center, the city is making changes to the building's lease.

The Baltimore Development Corp. is asking the Board of Estimates today to change elements of the agreement Baltimore drafted in 1973 when it transferred the prime Inner Harbor property to the state to build the tower.

Maryland Department of Transportation officials, who no longer want to manage the 30-story tower, are eager to sell it.

BDC Vice President Andrew Frank said the lease changes would allow a World Trade Center buyer to use the property other than as an office building. Residences or a hotel are options that have been discussed.

With the changes, Baltimore would give up its right of first refusal on the sale of the property, unless the buyer is a nonprofit group, because the city wants the property on the tax rolls.

Finally, the city would expand its lease on the Top of the World observation deck and require a future owner to remove or beautify safety devices the state installed in the harbor to protect the building after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

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