More apartments for Federal Hill, Mount Vernon

Check out renderings for new apartments proposed for Federal Hill and Mt. Vernon.

More apartment buildings are in the pipeline for Baltimore, with plans for two projects presented Thursday to the city's design review panel.

The Time Group is moving forward on a 153-unit apartment building on a parking lot at 500 Park Avenue, next to the Hoschild Kohn warehouse it converted into apartments last year. The $29 million Mount Vernon project would contain 140 parking spaces, about 4,000-square-feet of retail and a swimming pool. Time Group development director Dominic Wiker said the firm hopes to break ground early next year.

The building, rendered by Alexander Design Studio in colors that recall the white and black Brookshire Suites downtown, cleared a first hurdle though some panelists raised questions about the "heaviness" of a bridge that connects to the pool. Reviewer Richard Burns also said he wanted to see more windows and is worried that some of the architectural moves were made "just for the sake of being different."

In Federal Hill, The Bainbridge Cos. presented plans for a 225-unit apartment complex at 1100 Key Highway, opposite the Digital Harbor High School. Designs by Hord Coplan Macht show a large-windowed building that rises to eight stores from Key Highway, with stoops at the street and about 235 parking spaces.

Panelists said the new plan, which contains fewer units than designs presented for the site by a prior developer, represented an improvement, but asked for more "relief" from the length of the façade. The designs cleared a first hurdle before UDARP, despite objection by panelist Gary Bowden, who said he remained concerned that the project blocks Digital Harbor.

"I concede that we should go with approved schematics, but I'm glad we had the conversation because it's a serious question I'm asking. It's not frivolous. And it was here from the first day we ever saw the project," he said. "What gestures does the building do to honor the fact that there's a major school there?"

Both plans require additional approvals to move forward.

nsherman@baltsun.com

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