City-, state-owned tract on the market, BDC says

Some environmental cleanup is necessary, but S. Baltimore site called `developable'


A long-languishing city- and state-owned property in South Baltimore is on the market, city development officials announced yesterday.

Baltimore Development Corp. officials have high hopes for the vacant 17-acre site at Potee and Garrett streets in the Brooklyn-Curtis Bay area.

Though the property requires some environmental cleanup, its easy interstate access and visible location in a part of town where industrial space is in demand could make the site attractive, said Evans Paull, BDC's director of the Brownfields Initiative. "We're envisioning commercial or industrial use for the property," Paull said. "But residential is possible - just not single-family."

Contamination levels would prohibit single-family homes on the site. But a multifamily unit, in which people would be living on floors higher than the first, could work, Paull said.

Baltimore has owned the site since it claimed it by eminent domain in 1986. Residents had complained that the salvage yard operating there at the time was blighting the neighborhood.

A landfill occupied the site before the salvage yard, contributing to much of the contamination, Paull said.

"This site," he said, "has been a problem for us and for the community for a long period of time."

In the mid-1990s, the state bought a portion of the property from the city with the intention of building a courthouse there.

But when that plan fell through, the site sat vacant.

That was before the creation of government-backed Brownfields programs to encourage cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated sites. Now, Paull said, the purchaser of this site might be eligible for grants to help cover those mitigation costs.

The BDC will be taking bids until Feb. 17.

"The site is developable," Paull said. "There are no obstacles that we can't get over."

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