By Pamela Wood, The Baltimore Sun
6:08 PM EDT, July 1, 2013
Citing intense opposition from residents and others in Annapolis over redevelopment of the City Dock, the potential buyer of the Fawcett Boat Supplies building on the waterfront said Monday he's pulling out of the deal.
"I don't want to waste my time," said Mark Ordan, CEO of Sunrise Assisted Living, who had led a group of buyers who had put a contract on the building.
The Fawcett building has been vacant since 2010, when the business moved out of town. Ordan's group planned to demolish it and erect a 21/2-story building with retail stores or a restaurant on the ground floor and offices above. The new building would have been located away from the water to allow for a pedestrian promenade, he said.
Annapolis Mayor Josh Cohen supported the plans and introduced legislation to the city council to change zoning on the property at 110 Compromise St., which is zoned for maritime use.
The Fawcett plan ran into opposition from the newly formed Coalition to Save Annapolis, a group of businesses and downtown residents. Members held a press conference last week, in which they said the new building would be too tall, would ruin views, could threaten fall boat shows, would diminish downtown's maritime heritage and was being considered without enough public input.
Sean O'Neill, president of the Annapolis Business Association and a member of the coalition, said the city needs to take its time on City Dock redevelopment. A City Dock master plan that is in the works should be approved by the city council before there's any rezoning, he said.
"The city has to have its ducks in a row before someone can come in and do something like Mr. Ordan wanted to do," O'Neill said. "He may have been the right person, but it was the wrong time."
Ordan criticized coalition members for opposing his plan before it was unveiled. The coalition event last week came a day before Ordan's team held the first in a series of open houses to share the concept.
"Even before they saw what we proposed, they were staging protests, which I thought was so dumb," Ordan said.
Ordan said he "wasted a lot of time and money" on the aborted attempt to redevelop the Fawcett building. Terms of his group's contract to buy the building were not disclosed, but Ordan had referred to the project as a $20 million investment.
Cohen could not be reached for comment, but speaking on WNAV radio's "Talk with the Mayor" program Monday, he said Ordan's withdrawal was disappointing.
"He's trying to work with the community, and the community is opposing him," Cohen said.
The building is owned by Greg Kaufman and Terry Terhorst through their company, Chandler LLC. It's valued at $3.21 million for tax purposes, according to property records. Chandler LLC bought the building in 1998 for nearly $2.49 million, according to records.
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