City design panel delays 2 projects



The city's design panel delayed two major Baltimore housing developments yesterday, asking architects to work on various aspects before again seeking the panel's go-ahead.

Banker Edwin F. Hale Sr. and Vienna, Va.-based KSI Services had sought concept approval for a Greektown project with more than 1,000 upscale condos, apartments and townhouses. But the city's Urban Design and Architecture Review Panel deferred that approval over concerns about the height of the project. They also raised questions about the use of public space.

That $200 million project, planned for an industrial swath of land several blocks south of Eastern Avenue, is expected to follow a pattern of development that extends from Locust Point to South Baltimore to Canton.

Members of the community yesterday used the design panel meeting as a forum to criticize a second project - a plan to bring 210 condominiums to Silo Point at the location of what was a 290-foot grain elevator once operated by Archer Daniels Midland Co.

"Our obvious concern is these condominiums being so close to the neighborhood," said Michael MacIntyre, vice president of the Locust Point Civic Association. "This is a massive, massive structure. This is a very active piece of property to be facing."

But, in an interview later, Christopher Pfaeffle, principle of Parameter Inc. of Baltimore, which is designing the project, said that there had been eight months of meetings with community leaders over the project. "We've had overwhelming support from the community from the beginning," he said.

That project, which sought final approval, must now come back before the panel with additional details about lighting, signage and samples of materials being used.

The planned condominiums are part of a $400 million project which also includes 120 townhouses, already under construction by Pulte Homes, one of the nation's largest homebuilders, along with commercial space and parking for more than 500 cars.

"It's the renovation of a very unique structure," Pfaeffle said. "It would have been easier to just knock it down and build townhouses, but we really felt that the grain elevator had a prominent position in the Baltimore skyline."

Despite the delay, Pfaeffle was encouraged by the panel's response yesterday. "They liked 95 percent of what we did," he said. "In essence, we're in very good shape."

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