"That's not easy to find operating money for that kind of thing," he said.
Pratt noted that the city has worked for at least a decade to try to redevelop the Clifton Park Valve House. The administration struck a deal in 2002 with developer Charles T. Jeffries to turn the rare octagonal structure into offices, but yanked his contract in 2005 after he missed key deadlines.
"Clifton Park is beautiful," she said. "Maybe something could be done with that? Mr. Jeffries gave us a proposal and it did not materialize. There was interest in Valve House. Maybe there will be interest again."
Walter Horton, the comptroller's real estate officer, said it would be easier to find market uses for the buildings in good condition. He said it would be difficult to find profit in the rundown properties because a developer would need to sink so much money into them up front.
"You need millions of dollars to go into that building," he said of the West Arlington Water Tower. "We're asking the consultant, 'Tell us what you think we should and could do with some of these buildings.'"
Horton added that he is finalizing a lease agreement for the Shot Tower, but said he could not disclose details until the deal goes to the Board of Estimates.
Stosur emphasized that the contractor will merely provide independent analysis, and the city will make final decisions about how to proceed with the properties.
"There's nobody who has the time to take this on as a project who currently works in city government," he said.
Johns W. Hopkins, executive director of Baltimore Heritage Inc., noted that the 15 properties represent a wide range of buildings. Some are dilapidated and vacant, while others are well-kept and occupied.
"Many of the buildings on the list are iconic buildings that define their neighborhoods," he said. "Some even define the city of Baltimore. My hope is that the city is finding ways to be the best steward for these buildings. There are a lot of people in Baltimore who have put blood, sweat and tears into caring for these buildings. My hope is that decisions are made in as open a process as possible."
Up for sale?
The city plans to hire a consultant to look into the possible sale of these properties:
•Superintendent's House, Clifton Park
•Peale Museum, 225 N. Holliday St.
•Shot Tower, 801 E. Fayette St.
City Hall considers selling 15 historic landmarks
Baltimore plans to hire consultant to determine market value of Shot Tower, Civil War Museum, other sites
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