Harbor condos' Phase 2 in works

Design for 2nd tower at HarborView goes to city review today

October 13, 2005|By LORRAINE MIRABELLA | LORRAINE MIRABELLA,SUN REPORTER

Developers of the upscale HarborView community along Key Highway's shoreline are pushing ahead with a second condo tower to rise 17 stories at a cost of $25 million and laying the groundwork for a third, 22-story tower.

Plans for HarborView, now home to about 1,000 residents in condos and townhouses on the Inner Harbor's southern rim, call for a total of four condo high-rises, including the original 26-story signature tower at 100 HarborView Drive.

HarborView's population could double, or even triple, once developers complete those towers and other condominium and townhouse projects along Key Highway. The next phase of the project is moving ahead at a time when strong housing demand is generating a spurt of waterfront development from Canton to Locust Point. To the west, city officials and developers are looking to redevelop the industrial shoreline of the Middle Branch into a mix of housing, retail and office uses.

At the same time, residents of nearby Federal Hill have rallied against city proposals to foster new development by increasing height limits and densities along Key Highway's waterfront.

They are closely watching HarborView plans to ensure that builders follow guidelines set in a mid-1980s urban-renewal ordinance.

"Nobody likes shadows cast over the neighborhood, and every time you build a high-rise, it's not only physically but a personal intrusion on Federal Hill and the residents," said Keith Losoya, president of the Federal Hill Neighborhood Association. "But the community understands that HarborView property has always had the permission and intention to build multiple towers ... and we just want to make sure everybody plays by the rules."

A design for the 17-story Pinnacle, containing 47 large units, will be presented today to the city's design review panel. The building, to be built atop an existing underground garage and facing the existing HarborView tower, will have a 7,500-square-foot penthouse, private elevator lobbies, 10-foot ceilings and cascading fountains outside a covered entrance, Frank Wise, a vice president of HarborView Properties Development Co., said yesterday. The lower floors will have four apartments to a floor, while upper levels will have two units to a floor. The developer hasn't set prices.

Developers said they hope to start construction in about nine months. They hope to start a third condo tower, also to be built atop an existing garage, in about a year to a year and a half. That building would be closer in size and unit type to the signature tower and rise 22 stories.

Townhouses planned

Besides plans for new condos, HarborView is building 88 four-story garage townhouses on piers jutting into the water, with the remaining few unsold homes selling for $1 million and up. And construction will soon start on The Lofts at HarborView, a townhouse and condo project anchored by two loft-style condo buildings, on a narrow strip across Key Highway.

Driving the flurry of planning and building on the site of a former shipyard, where the first tower opened in 1994, is a condo building boom along Baltimore's waterfront, the developer said.

New condos under construction or planned include Baltimore's Ritz-Carlton Residences, a $250 million luxury project with 178 units priced up to $5 million, also along Key Highway; 503 condos to be completed by 2008 in Canton Crossing in Canton; and 210-unit Silo Point to be built in a converted, 290-foot-high grain elevator in Locust Point.

Market snowballs

"In large respect, the entire downtown market has started to snowball on itself," Wise said. "We've really developed enough of a critical mass downtown around the harbor to be attracting large numbers of people to come back into the city as well as to move to the city from neighboring jurisdictions."

Potential buyers are expected to come from the Washington and Northern Virginia markets, where real estate costs are higher, he said.

HarborView had once been the site of a Bethlehem Steel shipyard, which closed in 1982. Developer Richard Swirnow led a group that bought the property at auction for $24.4 million in 1986.

The land originally had approval for six towers, but developers gave up some of the density to build lower-density townhouses. The Townes at HarborView, 78 homes that were completed in 2004, sold from $350,000 to more than $1 million. The Pierside apartments, a low-rise building with 164 units, was converted into condos in February, and all but 28 have sold for up to $608,000.

lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com

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