City offers first peek at west side project

BUSINESS DIGEST

August 10, 2007|By Meredith Cohn | Meredith Cohn,Sun reporter

Baltimore's development agency offered the first peek yesterday at a major project planned as part of the redevelopment effort on the west side of downtown.

The site plan submitted by Power Plant developer, the Cordish Co., and the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation Inc., a nonprofit charity, shows a minimum of 70,000 square feet of offices, apartments, shops, restaurants and parking - a $26 million investment.

The project is the northern piece of the so-called superblock, a site cobbled together by the city and considered the linchpin of a municipal plan to bring workers, residents and shoppers back to a once-thriving downtown retail center.

"It's another step forward on the west side," said M.J. "Jay" Brodie, president of the Baltimore Development Corp., the city's development arm. "This is an architectural vision of what could occur on the north side of Lexington ... to complement what we've already seen on the west side."

The Cordish-Weinberg piece is bound by Lexington, Howard and Clay streets and Park Avenue.

Another $250 million development is planned on the south side of Lexington Street by Lexington Square Partners LLC, a team selected by competitive bidding more than two year's ago. Both the Cordish-Weinberg and the Lexington Square projects were made possible through a BDC-engineered land swap involving some city property.

The Cordish-Weinberg project could grow larger and include a 35-story tower if the developers land a major office tenant, such as the Social Security Administration, which Brodie said was a possibility.

Brodie warned, however, that the plans were a preliminary step in the process. The project is still years from opening and the city has yet to assemble all the land needed for it. The city is still negotiating with holdout property owners for their parcels, though Brodie said he expected a resolution by the end of the year.

No one at the Cordish Co., which produced the site plan, was available for comment.

meredith.cohn@baltsun.com

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