Preservationists say they won't hold up Superblock project

$150 million Lexington Square plan can move ahead

  • A rendering of the revised plan for the former Read's drugstore building downtown.
A rendering of the revised plan for the former Read's drugstore… (Rendering courtesy of Baltimore…)
March 15, 2011|By Edward Gunts, The Baltimore Sun

Members of the state's preservation agency, the Maryland Historical Trust, said Tuesday they will not attempt to hold up the $150 million Lexington Square development planned for Baltimore's west side, even though architectural plans do not comply with a 2001 preservation agreement between the city and the state that calls for certain buildings to be preserved if at all possible.

Four preservation groups had asked the citizens' panel to overrule agency director Rodney Little and rescind a Dec. 22 letter from Little saying he would not block the project even though it calls for demolition or partial demolition of certain buildings previously targeted for preservation. Maryland Historic Trust members said they could not rescind the Dec. 22 letter even if they wanted to because the period to contest it had elapsed.

At the meeting Tuesday, Little also said he could not rescind his own letter for the same reason.

The panel's position means that the developer, Lexington Square Partners, has state approval to finalize plans to build Lexington Square in the area bounded roughly by Howard, Lexington and Fayette streets and Park Avenue.

Also, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced Tuesday that the developers have agreed to save two walls from the former Read's drugstore building at Howard and Lexington streets, the site of a 1955 student lunch counter sit-in, rather than raze the entire structure. The preservation panel members said they would consider that revision at a future meeting.

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