Baltimore Development Roundup

| March 15, 2016 | 0 Comments

Construction Begins at 414 Light Street

Construction has begun at 414 Light St., the 44-story, 394-unit apartment tower in Otterbein/Inner Harbor. The property will additionally have 12,000 sq. ft. of first floor retail and parking for approximately 550 cars.

The project received a $107.28 million loan from Citizens Bank and is expected to be completed in 2018. It will be one of Baltimore’s tallest buildings.


Sagamore Proposes Infrastructure Upgrades for Port Covington

Sagamore Development has put together a proposal for the infrastructure at the $5.5 billion project covering 266 acres at Port Covington in South Baltimore. Sagamore is proposing $534,795,000 in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) from Baltimore City to finance public infrastructure including roads, bridges, utilities, sewers, waterlines, shoreline remediation, walkways, and parks. Projects include nearly 50 new city blocks, many with bike infrastructure; a waterfront promenade; more than 40 acres of parks along the water, underneath I-95, and throughout the area; walking bridges connecting the Westport and South Baltimore neighborhoods to Port Covington; new and rebuilt piers; shoreline remediation; and, ecological improvements.

A TIF is a bond issued to Baltimore City or any other jurisdiction that is leveraged and backed by a real estate development. TIFs use the increased property tax revenues at the development to pay off the bonds. When the bonds are paid off, all property tax revenues will go to the city coffers, but the current property tax revenues at the current rates will continue to go to the city. Sagamore will be paying the same 2.24% property tax rate on all of its properties and on its future assessments, but much of those funds will go to the bonds to pay for the infrastructure. Baltimore City will own the newly-built infrastructure and parks when completed. Sagamore said it is working on a park maintenance partnership with the city.

Sagamore is also hoping to use those bonds to seek matching funds from state and federal sources in the amount of $573,683,000. Projects that state and federal government would contribute to would likely involve the highways and mass transportation. Sagamore’s proposals include new exits off I-295 and I-395 along the northern section of the Middle Branch that lead to Port Covington; the redevelopment of Hanover St., which includes bringing the road back down to grade and increasing the road’s exit capacities to I-95; a light rail spur from Westport with two new stops; three new water taxi stops; and, improvements to the intersection of Key Hwy. and McComas St.

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New Townhomes Approved for Hoes Heights 

A new development with 40 townhomes has been approved for Hoes Heights, which is adjacent to Hampden, at 4201 Hickory Ave. on a lot behind the Green Spring Tower Square shopping center. From an article in Baltimore Business Journal:

Developer Mark Manzo of Skyline Development describes the planned 2,500-square-foot townhomes as “modern loft-style.” Prices will range from $375,000 to $475,000, Manzo said.

“The townhomes will have garages, backyards and terraces with sweeping views of the Roland Park Water Tower, Television Hill and downtown Baltimore,” Manzo said in an email. “This is some of the last forested acreage in the city and we have worked hard to preserve it going forward while making way for 40 amazing new homes.”

This would be the second townhome development in the area as Richmond American Homes is currently building 27 townhomes on W. 37th in Hampden.

City Seeks Park Heights Developer

The city issued a request for qualifications for a master developer for 49 acres of Park Heights in Northwest Baltimore. From an article in Baltimore Business Journal:

Baltimore’s Department of Housing and Community Development issued a request for qualifications this week for a developer seeking to create a mixed-use, mixed-income neighborhood in a major redevelopment area carved out of blighted blocks between Garrison Avenue, Reisterstown and Pimlico roads. The document calls for development with an urban feel characterized by pedestrian scale, moderate density, connectivity, transit-oriented development and public spaces.

The city started demolishing buildings across several blocks on Park Heights Avenue in December to make way for new development. It has acquired or is in the process of acquiring more than 500 properties in the targeted major redevelopment area. That’s about 80 percent of the properties falling in the area, where about 400 of 600 properties had been vacant, buildings and lots, according to city estimates.

The area is also a beneficiary of casino impact funds because of its proximity to Pimlico Race Course.

What to do with Pimlico?

The state is looking to study the future of Pimlico Race Course which is located around the corner from Park Heights. Pimlico’s owner, The Maryland Jockey Club, discussed the possibility last year of moving the Preakness Stakes to Laurel Park. A Maryland Stadium Authority study will seek answers for the 146-year-old facility. From an article in The Baltimore Sun:

The stadium authority has agreed to conduct the study in two phases. The first will focus on the condition of Pimlico’s facilities. The second will draw on information from Phase One to “identify potential development options.”

Moving Preakness to Laurel Park would require state approval. Sagamore Development was approached about building a race course at Port Covington, but it is not in its master plan for the area.

Potential Expansion for Convention Center

City leaders are hoping for a $600-million expansion of the Baltimore Convention Center. From CBS Baltimore:

“It’s very important that the state buys into that vision because it means so much to the city and economy,” said Mike Evitts, Downtown Partnership of Baltimore.

State officials will ask Governor Larry Hogan for a $3 million study to start and explore a $600 million expansion. That would double the center’s floor space and add a new hotel.

“If we’re successful with our goals, then we would produce more jobs and business opportunities,” said Baltimore Convention Center Executive Director Peggy Diakis.

Changes Coming for Penn Station

The Penn Station transportation hub was constructed in 1911 and operator Amtrak has been eying a large redevelopment. Baltimore Business Journal reported Amtrak received nine proposals from developers looking to revamp the station. Around the station, Beatty Development Group had planned a $500 million mixed-use development on property including the large 1.7 acre parking lot behind the station, but Amtrak is again looking for redevelopment proposals after that deal fell through.

Penn Station is a popular site for Washington-Baltimore commuters to catch the MARC Penn Line.

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