Developer picked for superblock' development
Mixed-use project slated in former department store area in Baltimore
Rendering courtesy of St. John Properties
Baltimore officials picked a Philadelphia developer to build a 64,200-square-foot mixed-use project as part of urban renewal efforts in the so-called "superblock" downtown that big department stores abandoned decades ago.
The Baltimore Development Corp. announced the award of two Westside properties to Carmel Realty Associates for redevelopment in combination with the former Kresge building, an art deco edifice that the company already owns. The agency will enter into an exclusive negotiating privilege with the firm to develop 109 W. Lexington St. and 119 Park Ave.
The $8 million project is proposed to include 29,000 square feet of retail and 30 apartments. As part of the deal, Carmel will relocate its Valu-Plus store from the 200 block of West Lexington Street into the new complex.
"Carmel's unique proposal combines the preservation of their historic former Kresge building into an exciting mixed-use development on one of the most visible corners in the Westside," said M.J. "Jay" Brodie, president of the agency, in a statement.
The announcement ends a long battle between the agency and Carmel for Westside development rights. In 2007, Carmel lost out in its bid for the broader superblock project when the agency granted another company development rights for an area that includes 51 properties at the northwest edge of downtown. Carmel then sued, claiming that the city's selection process was unfair, and Carmel succeeded in forcing the agency to submit its meetings and decisions under the state's Open Meetings Act.
But the suit did not block Lexington Square Partners of New York from its $150 million deal with the agency to build 200,000 square feet of retail space, a hotel, garage parking and up to 500 apartments.
The new Carmel negotiations follow a request for proposals for various Westside properties that the agency issued last year. Among the buildings involved in the project is the former Woolworth's building, which is now Valu-Plus.
The project was set in motion last year, when the city acquired the current Valu-Plus site through quick-take condemnation for $2 million. Carmel agreed it would relocate its general discount store to the old Kresge's site.
The superblock project is part of a general push by the development agency to revive the Westside, which also includes a new sports arena to replace the facility where the former Baltimore Bullets of the NBA used to play before they moved to Largo, then Washington. The agency said in December that four developers responded to a request for proposals for the arena.
Strip mall changes hands in St. Mary's
Sans Souci Plaza, a 264,199-square-foot strip center in California, has been sold as part of a two-property deal worth $72.5 million, the buyer, Cedar Shopping Centers, announced.
The Port Washington, N.Y., company acquired the mall along with a New London, Conn., center from WP Realty of Bryn Mawr, Pa. The properties were purchased through a joint venture of Prime Commercial Properties PLC, a London company that took a 60 percent profit interest in the deal.
Sans Souci is anchored by a Shoppers Food Warehouse, whose lease extends through May 2020. Other tenants include Marshalls, Jo-Ann Fabrics and Dollar Tree. The property was built in 1987 and has been renovated and expanded since then. WP Realty said San Souci is 96 percent occupied, including the newly built 27,000-square-foot Marshalls.
Silver Spring plan stumbles over angry and old' landlord
Momentum for the Studio Plaza mixed-use project in Silver Spring has stalled over the objections of a self-described angry old landlord who said she would be run out of business by its developer's proposal to build over an alley behind her property.
Developer Bob Hillerson has a deal with Montgomery County for his Fenton Village complex and the backing of its planning staff to build over a network of alleys next to a public parking lot just east of Georgia Avenue. But the impassioned objections of 85-year-old Athena Kalivas prompted the county Planning Board last week to recommend that the County Council defer action on the alleys until approval of the project and site plans for Studio Plaza.
The widowed property owner complained that Hillerson would force her out of business because his use of the alleys for the project would deny rear access to the Thai Market, a small café that rents space from her at 908 Thayer Ave. Kalivas and her children said that there is no room for Hillerson's proposal to create a loading dock for the market and two other businesses.
"I'm not senile," Kalivas told the board. "I'm angry and old."
She and her family have owned a stretch of properties for 50 years and insisted that the county protect access to the alley under the Studio Plaza plan. Hillerson proposes to construct four buildings, including a possible hotel, under a plan that would include 174,805 square feet of office space, 60,862 square feet of retail and 428,128 square feet of residential space with 603 units.
The board voted unanimously to recommend that the council not act on the alley abandonment issue until approval of the Studio Plaza project and site plan to ensure that rear access of surrounding property owners is protected. Board member John Robinson suggested that the site plan might require a setback of 10 to 20 feet between existing properties and Studio Plaza to make room for deliveries and trash trucks.
The board has tentatively set April 16 as the hearing date for the project plan.
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