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Thread: 10 Inner Harbor: Baltimore's New Tallest

  1. #1
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    Default 10 Inner Harbor: Baltimore's New Tallest

    As first posted in the BeyondDC forum:

    A tall order for city skyline
    59-story tower OK'd by design panel would be highest building in Baltimore

    BY LORRAINE MIRABELLA
    SUN REPORTER
    ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED FEBRUARY 17, 2006


    A glass skyscraper soaring 59 stories and 717 feet would become Baltimore's tallest building, with a distinctive, slender shape that would dominate the city's skyline, under a concept approved yesterday by the city's design panel.

    The tower would rise in the shape of a parallelogram on Light Street between the Hyatt Regency and Harbor Court hotels. It would contain luxury condominiums and a boutique hotel atop street-level shops, restaurants and parking.

    It would be nearly 200 feet higher than the Legg Mason Building at 100 Light St., now the city's tallest.

    The $300 million project, planned by Philadelphia developer ARC Wheeler, shows the strength of the city's revitalization, some experts said yesterday.

    It is the latest example of a surge of redevelopment that has begun transforming downtown into a residential and entertainment hub, boosting demand for amenities such as hotels, restaurants and shops.

    Such a signature building could come to symbolize the continuation of the city's renaissance, some experts said, while putting the finishing touch on harbor redevelopment.

    The 2-acre site, one of the last undeveloped parcels in the Inner Harbor, has been used as a parking lot since a McCormick spice plant was demolished in the late 1980s.

    "Many across the nation continue to view Baltimore as a below-average performer with Rust Belt characteristics, so this will be an important marketing symbol for the city," said Anirban Basu, chairman and chief executive of Sage Policy Group Inc.

    "It will be seen by anyone traveling along I-95. This building will do much to reposition Baltimore's skyline in people's minds and reposition the city itself in people's minds."

    Business and political leaders said they are encouraged to see such a substantial private investment downtown.

    "The fact that there are businesses who have identified Baltimore and see these opportunities and are willing to make this sort of significant investment signifies the future prospects of the city and the recognition, from outside of our state, of just how tremendous those opportunities are," said Donald C. Fry, president of the Greater Baltimore Committee.

    Rick Abbruzzese, a spokesman for Mayor Martin O'Malley, said yesterday that the mayor is glad to see the project moving forward.

    "It's a $300 million private investment on a long-vacant piece of property in downtown Baltimore," Abbruzzese said. "It's great to see this kind of investment coming back to our city."

    The project, designed by New York architect Robert A.M. Stern, got its much-anticipated unveiling yesterday before the city's Urban Design and Architecture Review Panel, drawing a larger than usual crowd.

    To be called 10 Inner Harbor, a nod to ARC Wheeler's 10 Rittenhouse Square mixed-use project in Philadelphia, the 1.3 million-square-foot-building would have 285 luxury and loft condominiums with high ceilings, large expanses of clear glass, balconies and roof terraces enclosed by clear glass railings.

    The first eight floors of the tower would contain a 192-room boutique hotel. The base would include 74,600 square feet of ground-level and second-floor shops, including a restaurant, possibly a gourmet grocery store and about 800 above-grade parking spaces.

    The base would also include a restaurant pavilion on the southeastern corner, with frontage along Charles and Conway streets open to stores. The developer plans to landscape the half-acre roof of the tower's base and put a pool, spa and fitness center next to the garden.

    Harold B. Wheeler, a principal with ARC Wheeler, said yesterday that he expects to sign up a hotel operator within the next month and to close on the purchase of the McCormick lot from owner Central Parking in the second quarter. He said the company is in the advanced stages of acquiring financing.

    "We're confident that financing is there for us," he said.

    Development of hotels, condominiums, shops and restaurants is booming downtown, especially around the waterfront.

    Hilton Hotel Corp. announced yesterday that work had begun on a 756-room convention hotel adjacent to Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

    A Ritz Carlton condominium is under construction on Key Highway on the Inner Harbor waterfront, and a Four Seasons is being built in Harbor East.

    Planned are a 34-story residential tower above the Market Place Metro station and a 21-story condo tower atop an 11-story garage at Water and Gay streets.

    Demand for downtown housing, especially from empty-nesters and young professionals, is strong enough to absorb the new development, said Kirby Fowler, president of Downtown Partnership of Baltimore Inc. Hotel occupancy rates downtown have been higher than average, boding well for a new boutique hotel, he said.

    Baltimore's ability to sell $301 million worth of bonds last month to finance its convention hotel showed investor confidence in the hotel market, Fowler said.

    "It sent the message that Baltimore can certainly handle more hotel rooms," he said. "One question is whether the condos will go for exorbitant rates or reasonable rates. But people want to own their own property."

    The design is subject to approval by the city's Planning Commission. After the nine-story McCormick building was razed in 1989, the city agreed to allow a taller building on the site if it met other standards, including one that restricts a building's height based on the area of its base.

    M.J. "Jay" Brodie, president of Baltimore Development Corp., told the project's developer and architects that he felt comfortable with the height, saying the design could offer the city a distinctive landmark.

    "This is a great site in terms of its importance, and a great site deserves a great building," he said.

    Among those at yesterday's design panel meeting were homeowner groups worried about whether the building would overwhelm its surroundings.

    Keith Losoya, president of the Federal Hill Neighborhood Association, said many people in his neighborhood accept change as part of urban living but feel that more attention should be paid to the scale of development.

    "We encourage development in scale with its surrounding and the stepping up to the city center," Losoya said. "It's certainly higher than we anticipated, kind of out of scale with the area."

    Bernice Winston, a retired teacher who lives with her husband in a condo in Harbor Court, just behind the Harbor Court Hotel, lamented the possible loss of the views up Charles Street and the prospect of more congestion and traffic.

    "That building is antithetical to the principle of low buildings along the Inner Harbor and the neighborhood characteristics," Winston said.

    Panel members asked the architects to revise the design to make the tower's facade less plain and less like an office tower. Several members disagreed with plans to cut a diagonal in the base at Light and Barre streets, at the entrance to a proposed restaurant.

    "This could be more of a sculptural building," one that looks less like pieces stacked one on another, said Mario Schack, a panel member.

    After the hearing, Wheeler said those suggestions were on target and that the development team had been discussing similar ideas.

    The architects said they considered building two smaller towers on the site but threw the idea out because the buildings would have been too close together for residential use.

    They said they arrived at the idea of a single tower with the upper part more slender than the lower part after taking into account the views from the building and of the building, and ways to minimize shadows cast on smaller structures.

    lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com
    Sun reporter Jamie Smith Hopkins contributed to this article.

    Copyright © 2006, The Baltimore Sun







    Last edited by TLOZ Link5; March 14th, 2006 at 03:22 PM.

  2. #2

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    Reminds me of 7 World Trade Center.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dagrecco82
    Reminds me of 7 World Trade Center.
    Yup, was about to say that. It looks like 7 World Trade with a set-back.

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    Heh, I see it now. Still, a nice new project for Baltimore.

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    Is there anything to do in Baltimore besides the harbor/aquarium and ball stadiums?

  6. #6

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    I'd say it reminds me more of twc without a twin rather than 7wtc.

    Nice to see Baltimore heading up, considering the guidebook I had when planning for a NYC trip said on Bmore "Don't go there".

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrooklynRider
    Is there anything to do in Baltimore besides the harbor/aquarium and ball stadiums?
    Eat crabcakes? Or does that also count as something you'd do in the harbor?

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Swede
    Nice to see Baltimore heading up, considering the guidebook I had when planning for a NYC trip said on Bmore "Don't go there".
    What were the reasons the guide book gave?

    What did the book say about NYC,Boston,Washington,Philadelphia, or any other destinations?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cromwell
    What did the book say about NYC,Boston,Washington,Philadelphia, or any other destinations?
    Cm'on, you know you're really only interested in knowing what it said about Philly.

    Btw, have you met our other forum favorites, JCMAN320 and nick-taylor? You guys are such good defenders of your cities, it provides us with a lot of comic relief.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cromwell
    What were the reasons the guide book gave?

    What did the book say about NYC,Boston,Washington,Philadelphia, or any other destinations?
    Well, the book centered on NYC, so it had much to say there. The other cities were listed mostly as suggestions for day-trips. Plenty to see in DC (obviously) and both Philly and Boston got mentions at nice cioties with a few tourist destinations and well worth the trip. B-more got dissed as not havong any touristy sites while having a very high crime-rate and generally a bad rep.

  11. #11

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    "Btw, have you met our other forum favorites, JCMAN320 and nick-taylor? You guys are such good defenders of your cities, it provides us with a lot of comic relief."

    LOL.

    -------------

    The building´s ok but look at that ugly low rise.

    And I like the way they threw in that bad-ass red-neck Dodge truck.
    Last edited by Fabrizio; March 26th, 2006 at 08:37 AM.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrooklynRider
    Is there anything to do in Baltimore besides the harbor/aquarium and ball stadiums?
    There is a lot to do in Baltimore. For one we have the Baltimore Zoo and tons of other things. Here are some web sites.
    http://www.hellobaltimore.com/
    www.baltimore.org

  13. #13

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    The 10 Inner harbor project is now going to cost 400 million instead of 300 million and the Final design is going to be taller.

  14. #14

    Default Two more new tallest proposed

    Jen Degregorio
    The Daily Record (Baltimore, MD)
    May 19, 2006

    The developers who in 2004 bought a portfolio of Baltimore office buildings once owned by Boxer Property have been quietly buying up more properties downtown in hopes of building the city's tallest skyscrapers. RWN Development Inc. and Rockville-based Bresler & Reiner Inc. bought or have under contract about 10 properties just north of City Hall.

    The buildings give them control of nearly two city blocks, on which they are planning to erect two mixed-use towers that could rise 60 stories or higher. "We want these to be the tallest buildings in Baltimore," said RWN President Richard Naing. "We want to change that entire side of downtown. "The bustle of downtown fades as one travels north of City Hall along Holliday Street. The area has little street life. Parking lots and drab buildings reign. But Naing hopes to change all of that. His firm recently bought the Saratoga Court apartment building on the corner of Saratoga Street and Guilford Avenue and the garage beside it. Also under contract is the building beside the garage where nightclub Hammerjacks currently operates on Guilford Avenue. RWN plans to close Hammerjacks on May 29, potentially filling it with a restaurant. On top of that building and the adjacent garage, the developers want to construct a tower that would contain about 1 million square feet of space. Naing's plan includes ground level retail, parking, assisted-living units and condominiums. He wants many of the units to be priced somewhat affordably at about $250,000 each. "The secret to the future is affordable housing," Naing said.Statistics compiled by the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore Inc. echo Naing's sentiment. Industry experts surveyed by the partnership said condominiums priced at $500,000 and below would do well downtown, while units priced between $750,000 and $800,000 were becoming overbuilt.RWN also owns the building where Sonar nightclub currently operates on East Saratoga Street. The company and its partner also bought or have under contract about six properties along North Gay and Holliday streets. The properties comprise a large chunk of that block, with East Saratoga Street and an alley bordering the site to the north and south. There RWN and Bresler plan to build a second tower, also with 1 million square feet of space dedicated to a mix of uses. While Naing's primary focus is on condominiums, he said he would be open to possible office or hotel uses for the buildings. Before they could materialize, the towers need a good deal of planning and city approvals. But Naing said if everything goes according to schedule, the projects could be under way by 2008 and delivered by 2010. Architects have not yet been chosen. Naing said he is negotiating with a number of "recognizable international names" to design the towers, which he wants to be "signature properties. "The preliminary idea has already won the support of city development officials. "I was excited and intrigued about the potential of really activating that area," said Otis Rolley III, director of the Baltimore Department of Planning. "It comes down to how it is designed, and if it's done respectfully, it can be a real victory for the developer as well for the city," Rolley said. RWN and Bresler's plans follow news that Philadelphia developer ARC Wheeler was approved to build a 59-story condominium tower at the former McCormick spice plant lot along Baltimore's Inner Harbor. Both projects speak well of Baltimore's continued growth, said J. Kirby Fowler, president of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore. "It's further proof of development well beyond the waterfront," Fowler said of RWN's planned skyscrapers. "We can definitely afford some taller structures and greater density downtown. "

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrooklynRider
    Is there anything to do in Baltimore besides the harbor/aquarium and ball stadiums?
    Absolutely! If you're into the visual arts, Baltimore is home to both the Baltimore Museum of Art, as well as the Walters Gallery. Both of these museums house world-class art exhibits covering art from nearly all periods in time (from pre-history to present), and all parts of the world. The Walters has a particularly nice Renaissance art collection, Asian art collection, and ancient manuscripts collection.

    Those who love the theatre might be interested to know that the Baltimore-Washington area has considerably more theatres than New York, and in such close proximity to one another. Baltimore alone has several opera companies, the world renowned Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the famous Peabody Institute, and other theatres that attract Broadway musical tours, perform plays, offer dinner theatre, and much more.

    Depending upon the season one may enjoy an Orioles or a Ravens game (though, who am I kidding, they aren't doing so well).

    For history buffs, Baltimore and the surrounding areas are steeped in history. Baltimore, founded in 1729, has survived the Revolutionary War, the British bombardment of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812 (which inspired the Star Spangled Banner), extremely divided sentiments during the Civil War, a devastating fire in 1904 (which razed more than 1500 buildings), the slowdown of the Great Depression, a mass exodus to the suburbs during the 1960s, and, finally, a new urban renaissance during the last part of the 20th century that continues to this day. For more on the history of Baltimore one can tour Fort McHenry or the USS Constellation, or one can stroll through the many historic neighbourhoods, such as Fells Point, Federal Hill, and Mt. Vernon.

    Baltimore has many top-notch restaurants serving up cuisine to fit any palate. We're even home to the restaurant that Conde Nast Traveller Magazine rated the no. 1 restaurant in the country for service, and the no. 2 restaurant overall (second only to the legendary The Inn at Little Washington, in VA.)

    There is a reason the guide book might have said not to visit. Baltimore does have a crime problem, but that problem is almost entirely related to the drug trade. The fact of the matter is that if one stays away from the drug trade (and there are many good reasons to stay away), the risk of being the victim of a crime is reduced substantially. It helps, though, to stay in the more common, tourist areas after dark. Baltimore has some wondeful and safe destinations, but streets can go from nice and inviting to abandoned and downright scary within, I kid you not, less than one block. Walking up some streets, you can literally turn left or right at a cross street and, by the end of the block, find yourself a world away. Over the past few years, though, redevelopment is driving the abandoned, crime ridden buildings away, and Baltimores maverick mayor, Martin O'Malley, has really rolled up is sleeves and gone to work ridding the city of many of the problems that plagued it at the beginning of his term. The results of his efforts are evident everywhere in the city.

    As with any city, it's very easy to stick to the well worn areas, and never have a care in the world.

    Baltimore can definitely be made into a nice, three-day trip. By train, it's little more than two-and-a-half hours from New York City, and consequently would make a nice little weekend escape.

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