Developer plans large garage at Metro West site

The new owner of a former Social Security Administration building near Lexington Market has put forward plans to add a 10-story parking garage on an existing lot as it looks to put the massive complex to new use.

The garage, located at Martin Luther King Blvd and Saratoga Street, would add more than 2,250 spaces, for a total of more than 2,700 on the site, under plans submitted Thursday to the city's Urban Design and Architecture Review Panel. It would include about 10,000 square feet of ground-floor retail.

Towson-based Caves Valley Partners purchased the Metro West complex in 2016 after winning a General Services Administration auction with a $7.1 million bid. It is working with B&B Realty Services in a joint venture called Greene Street Ventures LLC.

The 1.1 million-square-foot site, which spans two blocks, has been empty since Social Security moved to new offices near the Reisterstown Road Plaza Metro station in 2014. It's been floated as a possible home for state workers, if they relocate from an existing State Center complex in midtown.

Larry Boltansky of B&B Realty Services said the team is talking to possible tenants and is open to the idea of state workers. They haven't decided if it would move forward with the garage without a tenant in place, he said.

The team has proposed a screen decorated with the Maryland flag to cover the southern side of the garage. But that's supposed to allude to the nearby University of Maryland, Baltimore campus, not a possible state tenant, he said.

Members of the Urban Design and Architecture Review Panel said the designs needed more work, calling entrances off Saratoga and Mulberry streets confusing and asking for a traffic study. They also said the proposed garage design was too much like a fortress for such a visible site.

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