Struever project wins $3 million state grant

East Baltimore property to be renovated

February 09, 2011|By Edward Gunts, The Baltimore Sun

A team that includes businessman C. William Struever and a nonprofit developer from East Baltimore has been selected to receive a $3 million state grant to help renovate a former printing plant, possibly for use as a "healthy foods" commissary for the city school system.

Gov. Martin O'Malley has scheduled a Friday news conference to announce that the state is awarding the funds to convert the former A. Hoen Lithograph plant, an 85,000-square-foot facility at Chester and Biddle streets that has been vacant for decades, to a light industrial facility for one or more users. The project's total cost is $22 million and is expected to create 219 jobs.

Principals of the Hoen project are the Historic East Baltimore Community Action Coalition (HEBCAC), a nonprofit developer, and Cross Street Partners, a real estate venture formed by Struever and 27 other former employees of Struever Bros., Eccles & Rouse. The property is owned by the city of Baltimore.

Struever formed Cross Street Partners in 2010 after his previous company ran into financial difficulties. The grant marks the first time Struever's new venture has received state funds for a project. Ziger/Snead is the Baltimore-based architect.

According to HEBCAC's deputy director, Jeff Thompson, the property is being considered as a location for a commissary to prepare healthy foods for the city's public schools

In case the Hoen property is not selected for the commissary, HEBCAC and Cross Street are exploring other concepts to help create jobs for East Baltimore residents, according to state officials.

The Hoen project is one of 10 selected to receive a total of $11.18 million in state funds under the Sustainable Communities Tax Credit program, successor to the state's old Maryland Heritage Structure Rehabilitation Tax Credit program. The program was created to support "sustainable" projects, especially those that link historic preservation with eco-friendly or green building design approaches.

Despite its name, the Sustainable Communities program was structured for 2011 to award monetary grants, not tax credits. The program includes $10 million allocated for fiscal 2011 and $1.18 million carried over from 2010. The public funds are expected to lead to the completion of projects representing a total investment of $82.43 million.

The 10 recipients were selected from 36 applicants who sought about $40 million total. The recipients were selected because they scored highest on a state rating system. Five of the recipients come from Baltimore, two from Baltimore County, one from Talbot County and two from Washington County.

O'Malley is holding the news conference at the Hoen property and will announce the other recipients on Friday, state officials said.

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