October Compass - eNews from Baltimore Planning

Drawing of Apartment Building with Compass Logo
The Compass is a monthly eNewsletter of the Baltimore City Department of Planning.

October, 2013

A Message from the Director…

Development review, including site plans and urban design issues, is a core function of the Department of Planning.  As a result, it is always gratifying to see these projects move from concept to reality, as they begin to take shape within the City’s landscape. 

Despite recent economic troubles, there are a full range of projects currently under construction in the City of Baltimore, and construction cranes are once again dotting the skyline.

In this issue of The Compass, we’re happy to share the latest status of a sampling of exciting development projects that are nearly complete, in the pipeline or are underway throughout the City. These projects are a positive sign that development in Baltimore is never at a standstill, and an even more exciting indication that we are making progress in achieving the Mayor’s goal of growing Baltimore by 10,000 families.

As always, we welcome your feedback, comments, and ideas at plan@baltimorecity.gov

Thomas J. Stosur, Director


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CIP Spotlight

The Baltimore City Charter requires that the Planning Commission annually prepare a six-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP).  The first year of each six-year program becomes the capital budget for the upcoming fiscal year and is the basis for the capital component of the Ordinance of Estimates, which is adopted by City Council.

The CIP is a very important role of the Planning Department, and the projects have the potential to transform communities.  So each month The Compass will highlight a project from the City’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP).  This month’s featured project is the Baltimore Fire Academy Campus new  “live burn” Building in East Baltimore off Pulaski Highway. 

Drawing of Future Fire Academy

On August 29th the city broke ground on the new “live burn” building inside the city’s Fire Training Academy that will replace the old burn building built in 1955.   

For the last ten years the Baltimore City Fire Department has been unable to conduct live fire training exercises at the Academy because the Burn Building had become structurally unsound.  

The new structure is scheduled to be completed in January 2014, was designed by Edmeades Stromdahl, Ltd. and Morabito Consultants in close collaboration with fire academy instructors. The existing building will be demolished down to the foundation and rebuilt to replicate a typical Baltimore brick rowhouse on the exterior. 

The interior will include multiple “rooms” for live fire training as well as a training maze in the basement and roof props to simulate various rescue scenarios.

Thanks to an agreement between the City and Exelon Corporation a portion of the renovation cost has been paid by Exelon in exchange for BG&E personnel training. 

The renovation cost includes construction of a new Rehab Station adjacent to the Burn Building to be built on the foundation of an old oil burning pit. This covered open air pavilion will provide space for trainee hydration and rest after fire exercises. It will also serve as an outdoor classroom space for Academy instruction and demonstration area during the annual BCFD Thrill Show.

Image of facility before burn exercise
Image of building after burn exercise

The Burn Building renovation is the first project to be implemented in the Fire Academy Master Plan conceptualized by the Department of General Services. Future projects include a new fitness building, classroom training building and improved landscaping.

Total Construction Cost: $ 1.4 million.

Baltimore City CIP: General Funds, $ 974,406K

 The remaining $ 470,000K from Exelon/BGE

What are General Funds?

A central fund into which most of the City’s tax and unrestricted revenue are budgeted to support basic City operations and pay as you go (PAYGO) capital projects.  Annually, a specified amount is transferred to the capital budget to finance capital projects from current revenues.  


October is National Community Planning Month!

Community Planning Month Logo

National Community Planning Month is a time to elebrate the benefits of planning in our communities and Increase awareness about the importance and need for planners and planning.

This year’s theme is “People and Places,” because great people make great places, and great places make for a great community.

Do you know who your community planner is?  If you live or own a business in the City of Baltimore, click here to find out. Our community planners are here to help you make your community a great place to live, work and play.

Map of community planning districts

City Council Hearings Continue for TransForm Baltimore - A New Zoning Code for a Growing City

The Land Use and Transportation Committees of the City Council are continuing their series of hearings on TransForm Baltimore throughout October and November.  

Use the link below for the most recent list of remaining hearings and the sections of the code they will focus on at each hearing.  

Testimony will be accepted on other sections at each hearing. In addition, they are accepting written testimony, which can be sent directly to the committee at:

Office of Council Services
c/o Antoine Banks
City Hall – 4th floor
100 N. Holliday
Baltimore 21202

Or by email to: Antoine.banks@baltimorecity.gov

We recommend checking the City Council website frequently for any updates 

All proposed amendments are posted here.

For the dates, times, places and topics of all upcoming City Council Hearings on TransForm Baltimore, go here.

Planning & Development Highlights

Looking around the City recently it became clear that more and more development projects are breaking ground, signifying a growth in private investment and providing reason for optimism about Baltimore’s future.  

It is therefore interesting to note that since 2010, the City has added 3,732 units of new housing, while during the same time period the number of vacant building notices has declined by 509 units. In addition to the new housing units that have come on-line in the past three years, an additional 3,368 units are currently under construction, and another 849 units are in the planning pipeline.

To provide some development context, the following is a sampling of development projects which were reviewed in some way by the Planning Department, and are currently under construction or were recently completed.  These projects represent a range of the many projects and investments taking place throughout the City, from single family homes to large commercial and mixed-use transformations.

Greektown’s O’Donnell Square

Image of Greektown PUD Development

The Greektown Planned Unit Development (PUD), now being marketed as O’Donnell Square, has entered its final phase of construction, which will complete the development of 185 three story market-rate townhomes in the Greektown neighborhood.  The first phase which included 121 townhomes that sold at or around $250,000, is now complete.  The remaining townhomes are expected to be complete by the fall of 2014.

Design drawing of Greektown PUD

Estimated Project Cost: TBD

Total Housing Units: 306

Developer:  Kettler, Inc.

Builder: Ryan Homes

Union Wharf

Union Wharf is historic Fells Point’s newest luxury waterfront apartment building, located on Wolfe Street.  The 281 apartments are now leasing at rents between $1,600 and $3,200 or more, in a LEED Silver building that features exposed concrete ceilings, wood floors in kitchen areas, low-flow toilets and Energy Star appliances.  

Image of Union Wharf Apartments

Estimated Project Cost: $72 million

Total Housing Units: 281

Developer: The Bozzuto Group

Architects: Hord Coplan Macht Inc.

Barclay-Midway-Old Goucher Redevelopment Project

The redevelopment of Barclay, Midway and Old Goucher is making noticeable progress in transforming these East Baltimore neighborhoods.  The redevelopment is a result of a partnership between Baltimore Housing and Telesis Development, with extensive community involvement in the planning and design.  

Picture of Groundbreaking ceremony

When complete, the redevelopment plan is expected to result in approximately 101 market-rate home-ownership opportunities; 22 affordable home-ownership opportunities for people earning 80% of Area Median Income; 43 replacement public housing units; 91 affordable rental units; 65 market rate rental units; approximately 12,000 sq. ft. of community and retail space; a new neighborhood park, an improved Calvert Street Park, and improved streetscape throughout the neighborhood. 

Image of new townhome construction

Estimated Project Cost: $85 million

Total Housing Units: 322

Developer: Telesis, Corp.

Marketplace at Fells Point

Walk or drive down Broadway toward the water in Fells Point, and you can’t miss the construction activity related to the construction, and deconstruction, behind the historic facades of the 600 Block of S. Broadway.  This activity is a welcome sign of progress being made to realize a redevelopment vision now known as the Marketplace at Fells Point.  This project will include 159 residential apartments above 28,000 sq ft of ground floor retail, and will coincide with the redevelopment of the Broadway Public Market buildings.

Drawing of future Marketplace at Fells Point

Estimated Project Cost: $43 million

Total Housing Units: 159

Developer: The Dolben Company, Inc. and Klein Enterprises

Picture of Fells Point Facades standing alone with sky showing through windows

Jefferson Square at Washington Hill

Jefferson Square at Washington Hill is a 500-unit rental housing project now being constructed between Wolfe and Washington Streets just south of EBDI in the Washington Hill neighborhood.  Phase I of the project is currently under construction and Phase II was recently approved by the Planning Commission.  In addition to the market rate apartments, Jefferson Square will include structured parking and a small retail component.

Image of Franklin Square development

Estimated Project Cost: TBD

Total Housing Units: 500

Developer: Jefferson Apartment Group

Architects: Preston Partnership

The Rotunda

With its recent groundbreaking, the Rotunda in Hampden is poised to undergo a major transformation.  With approved plans for 182,000 sq ft of new and renovated restaurants and retail, up to 153,000 sq ft of new or renovated office space, and 380 residential units being constructed to the rear of this neighborhood landmark.  The project also includes a small number of townhomes, and a total of 1100 parking spaces, some of which will be in a structured parking garage.

Drawing of Future Development around the Rotunda
Image of Front entrance to Rotunda

Estimated Project Cost: TBD

Total Housing Units: 382

Developer: Bozzuto and Hekemian & Cos.

10 S. Light Street

The conversion of the former Bank of America Building at 10 S. Light Street will be a welcome addition to the burgeoning neighborhoods of downtown Baltimore.  The 34-story historic art deco building is one of Downtown’s iconic buildings, and could become its next prime residential address, with 445 apartments and first floor retail.  When 10 Light St. first opened in 1929, it was the tallest skyscraper on the East Coast outside New York City, and was originally home to the Baltimore Trust Company.

Picture of Bank of America Building

Estimated Project Cost: TBD

Total Housing Units: 445

Developer: Metropolitan Partnership Ltd.

M on Madison

In a rental housing market that is booming, high quality apartments affordable for the average Baltimore worker are becoming harder and harder to come by in and around Downtown Baltimore.  The M on Madison, which was recently completed and is currently leasing, seeks to fill some of that demand with 74 units of affordable workforce housing in a transit-friendly location on the corner of Howard and Madison Streets.  

Picture of M on Madison

Estimated Project Cost: $16.5 million

Total Housing Units: 74

Developer: HTA Development LLC

Architects: Peter Fillat Architects

Harbor East Hotel

The success of the Harbor East neighborhood is beginning to spread to the East and to the North along Central Avenue.  One sign of this success is the groundbreaking for Harbor East’s newest hotel at the corner of Central and Fleet Street.  This 8-story 205 room hotel, will include approximately 15,000 sq ft of ground floor retail and restaurant space, and will be operated under the Hyatt Place brand.

Drawing of future hotel building

Estimated Project Cost: TBD

Total Square Footage: 130,000

Developer: Chesapeake Real Estate Group LLC and Englewood LLC 

Architects: Cooper Carry

District at Canton Crossing

The District at Canton Crossing was met with great enthusiasm and excitement on “opening day” during the first week of October.  With over 326,000 sq ft of retail and restaurant space, Canton Crossing includes the City’s second  Target department store, and will soon include its second Harris Teeter grocery store, among 30 other stores and restaurants. 

image of new target store

Estimated Project Cost: $105 million

Total Square Footage: 326,000

Developer: BCP Investors

Morgan State School of Business

Rising on the site of a long vacant department store in Northwood Plaza, Morgan State’s new business school is a welcome sight for residents and students in Northeast Baltimore.  The 140,000-square-foot Earl G. Graves School of Business and Management will include a café, lecture halls and classrooms, and is one of three buildings planned for the 9 acre site on the corner of Hillen Road and Argonne Drive.   The business school is named for Earl G. Graves Sr. founder and publisher of Black Enterprise magazine. 

Photo of Business School under construction

The entire MSU site is being referred to as the “West Campus”, and will be connected to the existing campus via a new pedestrian bridge over Hillen Road. Future plans include 2 additional buildings, one for Morgan’s behavioral and social sciences program and a new school of community health. The communities hope Morgan’s development will spur the much-needed revitalization of the remainder of the shopping center.

Drawing of future business school

Estimated Project Cost: $72 million

Total Square Footage: 140,000