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BDC considers addition to Examiner building, apartment conversions downtown

The Baltimore Development Corp. board this morning agreed to enter into an exclusive negotiating agreement with the owner of the former Examiner building, 400 E. Pratt St., so that an addition to the building can be built on city-owned land.

The Peter D. Leibowits Co. wants to build a 22,600 square foot, glass-fronted retail space on land along East Pratt and Commerce streets, according to BDC records.

The plan, which the developer hopes will be leased to a national retail chain or restaurant, is expected to make the Pratt Street sidewalk more pedestrian friendly, BDC Economic Development Officer Kerry DeVilbiss told the board.

The developer has agreeed to pay fair market value, about $305,000, for the city land, DeVilbiss said. 

The BDC received an unsolicited proposal from Leibowits to purchase the land, said BDC Interim President Kim Clark. The BDC issued a public request for other proposals, but none were offered for the land, which would be difficult to develop by anyone other than the Examiner building's current owner, Clark said.

Leibowits would like to start construction on the project, which is supported by the Downtown Partnership, next summer. Leasing would begin about a year later. The architect for the project is Peter Fillat Architects.

The BDC board on Thursday also discussed a proposal by PMC Property Group to puchase, and convert into apartments, six city-owned commercial buildings on Water and South Calvert streets. The buildings -- 117 Water Street and 26-36 South Calvert Street -- would be turned into 140 market-rate residences, according to BDC records.

A years-old prior negotiating agreement to redevelop those city-owned buildings was terminated by the city after the developer failed to move forward with their proposed project, Clark said.

A new request for proposals for the structures was released publicly in August. PMC's was the only proposal submitted in response, Clark said. PMC has completed several other "adaptive re-use" commercial-to-resident conversions in the city.

PMC would like to settle the purchase of the buildings quickly and hopes to being leasing apartments in them by the spring of 2014, DeVilbiss said. The financial aspect of the deal was discussed by the board in a closed session.

Have a real estate news tip or experience to share? Email me at steve.kilar@baltsun.com.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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