November 15, 2007

Poppleton redevelopment gets additional $2 million

A major city-led redevelopment effort in the Poppleton neighborhood of West Baltimore received an additional $2 million from the city's affordable-housing program fund yesterday for acquisition and demolition - part of an effort to clear the site for 1,600 new homes.

Baltimore expects to spend $18.5 million for acquisition, relocation and demolition. Construction is to begin late next year or early in 2009, officials said. The project will proceed in four phases and will be completed in eight to 10 years.

The city selected a development team for the project, New York-based La Cite Development, in 2005.

Housing officials noted the 13.5-acre site's proximity to the University of Maryland biotechnology campus and other development. They said that 20 percent of the new units will be targeted to low-income residents and that the project will include 300 rental units.

"This is a very key location," said City Housing Commissioner Paul T. Graziano. "Given its proximity to [the University of Maryland] project and the Westside urban renewal area, there are exciting redevelopment opportunities here."

John Fritze


: Cable TV

Cavalier proposal is under review

A Virginia-based telecommunications company wants to offer a new option for Baltimore cable television subscribers - taking on a company that has long had a lock on the market.

City officials said yesterday that they are reviewing a proposal by Cavalier Telephone Corp. - a relatively small provider that offers phone and high-speed Internet service in the city - to expand into cable television.

A proposed 12-year franchise agreement pending in the City Council was voted down by the Judiciary and Legislative Investigations Committee this month, but officials said the proposal will be reintroduced next month.

If the agreement is approved, Cavalier would compete with Comcast, the region's largest cable provider. City officials said Cavalier initially would use existing underground infrastructure.

"Obviously, the city of Baltimore hasn't gained any meaningful competition," said Craig Pizer, vice president of business development with Cavalier. "We're excited to come in with a competitive price and product that we hope will save residents a lot of money."

City Solicitor George Nilson said that under an agreement negotiated with Cavalier the city will review the franchise until the end of March. It would ultimately need City Council approval.

Cavalier, which has about 5,000 television customers in Virginia, is also negotiating with nearby governments, including Montgomery, Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties.

John Fritze

City survey

Neighborhoods OK, most gay residents say

More than 90 percent of gay, bisexual and transgender individuals said their neighborhood is gay-friendly, according to a survey released yesterday by the mayor's Task Force on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans- gender Issues. The online survey received responses from nearly 500 city residents. The study was conducted for the task force by Jacobs Jenner & Kent Market Research.

John Fritze


Parade to close some city streets

Some downtown streets will be closed and parking restricted from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday to make way for the Best Buy Thanksgiving Parade. The affected streets are Pratt from Greene to Howard; Eutaw from Pratt to Lombard; Market Place from Pratt to Water; Water from Market Place to Gay. Northbound Russell/Paca will be reduced to two lanes from Camden to Lombard. From 10:45 a.m. to 2 p.m., Pratt will be closed from Howard to President.

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