6 developers offer bids on Gateway South project

April 12, 2006|By LORRAINE MIRABELLA | LORRAINE MIRABELLA,SUN REPORTER

Six developers will compete to transform an industrial swath of Southwest Baltimore on the Middle Branch waterfront into housing, stores and offices that could employ 1,500 workers, Baltimore development officials said yesterday.

The Baltimore Development Corp. asked developers in January for proposals showing their qualifications to develop and manage Gateway South, a $100 million project to be built on 11 acres south of M&T Bank Stadium and east of the 500-acre Carroll Camden Industrial park.

The city owns about half of the site, including 3 1/2 acres it bought from the Maryland Chemical Co., which will move to Fairfield in South Baltimore, and is negotiating to buy the rest of the property, said Andrew B. Frank, BDC executive director. The site could accommodate up to 1.5 million square feet of new development that would be built in phases over the next five to 10 years.

Teams vying to redevelop the property include: The Benade Group Inc.; Cormony Development LLC and Rainmaker Sports and Entertainment LLC, which includes Baltimore Raven Ray Lewis as an equity owner; Henrietta Development Corp.; Himmelrich Associates/Doracon Development LLC; Manekin LLC; and a team that includes Transwestern/DRI, Banks Contracting Co. and Pinnacle Properties & Development.

"We view this as an opportunity to work with others in the area to create a gateway to Baltimore," said developer Samuel K. Himmelrich Jr., of Himmelrich Associates of Baltimore. "We think it is a sensational site, given its access to transportation, particularly highways. We would try to link the upper branches of the Middle Branch to Federal Hill and integrate the development into the Carroll Camden" park.

Himmelrich said his company has developed projects in the area and owns several commercial properties, including renovated office buildings on West Ostend Street. Himmelrich, who in 2002 transformed the former Montgomery Ward catalog warehouse in Southwest Baltimore into the sprawling Montgomery Park office complex, also said he views the Gateway project as an opportunity to link the two developments.

The BDC hopes to find the development team that is best qualified to bring in new jobs as well as build environmentally friendly buildings, Frank said. The group also wants a developer that will incorporate a new bus terminal for Greyhound, which is operating out of a temporary facility at the site on Haines Street, and will create a public park or recreation area to connect to the new Gwynns Falls Trail, he said.

While some proposals focused more on housing, all included a form of office and retail, Frank said. He said the BDC expects to narrow the field in the next two to three months before issuing a new request to those developers for more specific proposals.

The city would like to see construction begin sometime in 2007, with the Greyhound terminal, which would be funded partly with federal transportation money, to be completed by September 2008, Frank said.

Renewal of the site represents the first phase of a larger overhaul of the Carroll Camden industrial park, which flanks Russell Street and houses more than 165 businesses that employ more than 7,700 people. The City Council had approved an urban renewal plan for the area in 2002 that gives the city authority to acquire property for redevelopment and bring in a wider mix of uses.

lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com

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