City offering 17 acres on Potee St., W. Garrett St.

BUSINESS DIGEST

October 23, 2007|By Allison Connolly | Allison Connolly,Sun reporter

The city is once again shopping 17 acres in Brooklyn and Curtis Bay to developers with hopes of attracting serious bidders for the former landfill, which has been vacant for more than two decades.

Officials at Baltimore Development Corp. are looking for a project that will create jobs for the community and revenue for the city. And it should be attractive, the BDC's request for proposals said, as the land fronts the heavily traveled arteries of Potee Street and Patapsco Avenue that connect Brooklyn in South Baltimore with Anne Arundel County.

The city has secured two grants from the Environmental Protection Agency worth a total of $400,000 to clean up the soil, which contains lead, arsenic, mercury and petroleum-related contaminants. While the area is zoned industrial, the city is open to all suggestions, said Larisa Salamacha, the BDC's managing director of industrial development.

"In discussions with the community, they said they were interested in attracting a supermarket or other mixed-use development," Salamacha said.

The last time the city sought proposals for the area, in 2005, it received only one. First-time developer and longtime commercial real estate broker Mitch Gold assembled a team called Business Real Estate Partners LLC and proposed a mixed-use development that included apartments or condos, a supermarket and other shops. However, the city questioned how ready the group was to build on the site and was compelled to reject it, Salamacha said.

"We are looking for proposals that are not only a good idea but come with a commitment from a team that is going to go directly to construction," she said. "We don't want someone land-banking it for three or four years."

The area consists of two big lots and a smaller one nearby. Approximately eight acres are at 3700 Potee St. and nearly nine acres are at 101 W. Garrett St. Bidders can make proposals for individual parcels or all three.

Having formerly been swampland and then a landfill, the ground is unstable. The city estimates it would cost a developer about $1 million to build a foundation that would support a 120,000-square-foot, single-story building.

A successful bidder should have commitment letters from potential occupants as well as detailed financial information, including funding sources for development and projected revenue from the site, the BDC said.

The closing date for proposals is noon Jan. 18.

allison.connolly@baltsun.com

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