Plans to begin work soon redeveloping the former chemical plant site at Harbor Point hit a potential delay Monday, as the Maryland Department of the Environment said the federal government shutdown would prevent it from completing review of the project by Tuesday, as required.
Beatty Development Group officials had said that they hoped to break ground Oct. 15 on a 22-story tower to house the regional headquarters of the Chicago-based energy company, Exelon. But in a letter sent Monday, MDE notified Beatty that because of the federal shutdown, state officials have been unable to coordinate their comments on the plan with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Under a 1989 federal court consent decree spelling out remediation of toxic contamination at the former Allied Chrome Works in Fells Point, state and federal environmental agencies must respond within 60 days to any plans for redeveloping the 27-acre site. Beatty submitted its detailed development plans on Aug. 6.
The MDE letter said it hoped to provide its comments "as soon as possible" once EPA officials have been able to return to work. A public meeting intended to address area residents' concerns about the project, originally scheduled for Monday evening, also was postponed by the shutdown.
Baltimore City Councilman James Kraft said Monday that the Harbor Point developers have assured him that they will not break ground on the property until they hold another meeting with residents over their environmental concerns.
Marco Greenberg, vice president of Beatty Development Group, said executives had anticipated there might be a delay because of the federal shutdown.
"We remain committed to working closely with EPA and MDE to ensure that any and all comments are addressed," he said.
Baltimore Sun reporter Luke Broadwater contributed to this article.ter Luke Broadwater contributed to this article.