Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels told the Baltimore Development Corp. board Thursday that the academic powerhouse has a moral obligation to "share our bounty" with the city.
Daniels said that he sees Hopkins students, faculty and staff as privileged and that each has a responsibility to help revitalize Baltimore by addressing homelessness, preparing children for good jobs, ending violence and reversing significant health problems.
"You can't sequester our institutions from the community," Daniels told the development board at its monthly meeting. "All of these things impact very directly the survival of our institutions. The reality is that we have billions of dollars invested in Baltimore City and we cannot, like some other institutions that have left the city, we cannot willy-nilly leave the city. We are here."
Daniels spoke briefly about the East Baltimore Development Inc. urban redevelopment project in the area north of Johns Hopkins' medical campus, saying the project — which will include retail space, a community school, a hotel and grocery stores — was moving from concept to reality.
The board, a quasi-governmental economic arm of the city, also heard about development of Lexington Square, the west-side "Superblock" redevelopment project that calls for 296 apartments, more than 217,000 square feet of retail space and 650 parking spots.
M.J. "Jay" Brodie, president of the BDC, said the board voted unanimously in executive session to make a recommendation on a proposed payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement on the residential and parking portions of the Lexington Square project.
Brodie would not discuss details about the proposed agreement, including the price or price range, or a time frame. He said the recommendation would be sent to the mayor's office, where it would be reviewed. If approved, the matter would eventually go to the City Council.
The developer, Lexington Square Partners LLC, is also seeking a tax break on the retail portion of the project, but Brodie said the board was not prepared to make a recommendation on that.
Representatives of the advocacy group Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development also attended the meeting to ask the board to coordinate a campaign to raise $10 million a year over a decade from corporate donors for the city's schools.
Arnold Williams, chairman of the board, agreed to meet with BUILD members, possibly within a week.