BDC considers EBDI, west side projects

September 25, 2014|By Natalie Sherman

The Baltimore Development Corp. voted unanimously in a closed session Thursday to start exclusive negotiations with a developer seeking to build market-rate apartments on two city-owned sites on Mulberry Street.

The GMP Development Enterprises LLC plans call for 63 apartments, some retail space and 30 parking spaces, BDC staff told board members before the meeting was closed to the public. A final price for the land is subject to negotiation, said BDC President William H. Cole.

The 410 and 422 W. Mulberry Street properties, about 19,500 square feet currently used as surface parking lots, are valued together at about $1.1 million for taxation purposes, according to state records. A recent appraisal conducted for the BDC placed the properties’ value at $934,000, according to BDC executive vice president Kimberly Clark.

The GMP Development proposal is one of three responses to the BDC’s request for development ideas on the land, located in the west side, where the city is hoping to spur revitalization. The developer had approached the BDC last year prior about the site, Clark said. Construction could start as early as next fall, according to minutes from the BDC’s project committee.

The BDC also voted to reject a property tax deal sought by Pennrose Properties and AVG Partners, which are working on a two-building, mixed-use complex with 204 market-rate apartments in the East Baltimore Development Inc. zone close to Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Philadelphia-based Pennrose, which had sought a 25-year payment in lieu of taxes, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

EBDI, a $1.8 billion urban renewal project intended to spur revitalization in East Baltimore, has come under pressure from politicians and other board members who want to increase the residential housing in the area, where more than 700 families were relocated to make way for development.

Attorney Deborah H. Devan, who leads the BDC’s project committee, said the Pennrose proposal, slated for land close to the 929 market-rate apartment tower, did not merit financial assistance, given the developer’s potential returns. Projects in the EBDI zone are already eligible for some tax benefits.

Pennrose also developed the Chapel Green development in EBDI, 63 mixed income apartments and townhomes that opened in 2009.
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