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City moving forward with plan to turn six downtown buildings into apartments

City officials have decided to move forward with a private developer's plan to turn six downtown buildings into apartments, the Baltimore Development Corp. announced Wednesday.

The buildings -- 117 Water St. and 26, 30, 32, 34 and 36 S. Calvert St. -- will be converted by PMC Property Group, of Philadelphia, into 140 market-rate rental units and roughly 30,000 square feet of ground floor retail, the BDC said in a statement.

An earlier agreement between the city and another developer to rehabilitate the vacant, city-owned commercial buildings was terminated by the city after the developer failed to more forward with their proposal for the cluster of structures.

PMC submitted an unsolicited proposal for the properties in August and the BCD then issued a formal request for proposals for the buildings' development. Only PMC responded to the official request.

On Wednesday, the city announced that it has now entered into an "exclusive negotiating privilege" agreement with PMC that will allow the parties to come to an agreement about the sale of the buildings.

PMC has told BDC officials that it would like to settle the purchase of the buildings this year. The firm hopes the buildings will be ready for residents by the spring of 2014, according to BDC records.

PMC has completed several other "adaptive re-use" commercial-to-residential conversions in the city, according to the BDC:

  • 101 Wells - Conversion of a tinware factory at 103 E. Wells St. into 182 residential apartments.
  • The Abell Building  - Conversion of an office building at 1 S. Eutaw St. into 30 apartments and first-floor retail.
  • The Greenhouse - Conversion of 519 W. Pratt St., a garment manufacturing building, into 88 apartments.
  • 1201 N. Charles St. - Conversion of a restaurant into 20 apartments.
  • 1304 St. Paul St. - Conversion of row homes into 22 apartments.
  • 521 St. Paul St. - PMC is currently converting a commercial structure into 70 apartments.
  • 301 N. Charles St. - PMC is currently converting the former Baltimore Life Insurance Co. building into 92 residences.

The firm also renovated nearly 500 apartments at the Rodgers Forge Apartment complex in Baltimore County and has properties in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Virgina, South Carolina and Florida, according to the BDC.

As with its current properties, PMC plans to manage its six new apartment buildings after their conversion.

The BDC said that selling the properties to PMC would create about 200 construction jobs and about 130 permanent retail and residential management jobs. Plus, the sale would put currently untaxed properties back onto the city's property tax rolls, according to the BDC.

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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