By Pamela Wood, The Baltimore Sun
9:06 PM EDT, April 29, 2013
A vacant building in a prime location at Annapolis City Dock is about to be sold.
An investment group led by Mark Ordan, CEO of Sunrise Senior Living, has signed a deal to buy the former Fawcett Boat Supplies building at 110 Compromise St. The building sits in a key spot in downtown Annapolis and will figure into the city's plans to redevelop the City Dock area.
Terms of the deal have not been disclosed, and Ordan said it won't be final until the proposal passes a five-month study period "to make sure we have the support and cooperation of the city and the various constituents."
Ordan plans to tear down the Fawcett building and replace it with a 21/2-story building with retail shops on the ground floor and offices above.
He said his fellow investors all are affiliated with Sunrise — founder Paul Klaassen and employees Laura Linynsky and Edward Burnett.
Ordan, who lives in Montgomery County and keeps his powerboat in a marina in the Eastport neighborhood of Annapolis, said he has had his eye on downtown redevelopment efforts for a few years.
"My only interest in doing this is to take that site and make it into something really special," he said.
The Fawcett building has been empty since 2010 when the boat supply business, which leased the space, moved a couple of miles away to Bay Ridge Road.
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. Chandler bought the building in 1998 for nearly $2.49 million, according to property records.
Ordan said his project fits in with a new master plan for City Dock that's being reviewed. A draft of the plan calls for reduced parking lots, taller buildings, pedestrian promenades and more green space. The city's Planning Commission is scheduled to review the draft plan this week, and it will go before the City Council later this year.
Some critics have expressed concerns that the draft plan would lead to unwelcome changes such as tall buildings that could diminish the character of City Dock, and fewer parking spaces, which could dissuade visitors from coming downtown.
Meanwhile, Annapolis Mayor Josh Cohen plans to submit City Dock zoning legislation to the council in May. His legislation will, among other things, establish a mixed-use zoning area around the dock that Ordan needs to develop the replacement building.
Cohen also plans to ask the city council to approve changing the boundaries between the Fawcett building and two adjacent city-owned parking lots. He hopes to work out a new set of boundaries that would allow Ordan to grant a pedestrian walkway along the waterfront to the city.
"The property has been an eyesore. It's been a vacant, 12,000-square-foot cinder block building," Cohen said.
The Fawcett project also needs to be coordinated with a bulkhead reconstruction project and the annual fall boat shows, which lease the city parking lots, the mayor said. He said he's confident everything will work out.
"I think the community will recognize that we have a unique opportunity in front of us," Cohen said. "What Mark wants to do is what we as a community, through our planning process, have said we want."
Ordan thinks his project will win supporters.
"Unless you want to walk past that ugly building and don't want anything to change … I think people would be supportive," he said.
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