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BDC requests proposals for downtown 'balloon site'

The Baltimore Development Corp. is requesting proposals for the former "balloon site" at 701 E. Baltimore Street after receiving a new, unsolicited plan for the site from The Cordish Cos. -- the Baltimore development firm that until recently held the development rights for the property.

Cordish gained the right to build on the site in 2005. But Cordish's exclusive negotiating privilege for the property has expired, said Kim Clark, the BDC's acting president. Because Cordish recently submitted a new plan for the site, the BDC issued on Friday another request for proposals, she said.

The "balloon site" property has not been active since the summer of 2004, when 17 people were stranded in a balloon ride on the site for nearly two hours during a storm. The BDC did not renew the balloon operator's contract after the incident.

Since then, city development officials have called land a "gateway" site to downtown, because of its location at the end of Interstate 83. The 29,751 square foot piece of property sits at the corner of South President and East Baltimore streets. Any development plan for the site must "include plans to maintain the functionality of the Shot Tower Metro Station both during and after construction," the BDC's statement said.

The Cordish Cos., while it retained the right to develop the property, scaled back its plans for the site. Most recently, in June, the BDC released a statement saying that Cordish had submitted a revised plan that called for a structure containing 226 apartments, 15,000 square feet of retail space and 225 parking spots, according to a BDC statement at the time.

David Cordish, chairman of the Cordish Cos., did not respond to an email inquiry Monday.

The BDC on Friday also put out a request for proposals for city-owned land at 1107 E. Fayette St., about five blocks northeast of the "balloon site." The city received an unsolicited offer for the purchase of the 22,798 square foot lot with a warehouse on it, the BDC said.

Responses to the requests are due Dec. 31, the BDC said.

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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