The city has set aside nearly half a million dollars to tear down a crumbling building on property it purchased in west Baltimore about 10 years ago in an effort to spur revitalization in the area, officials said.
Safety concerns – not development plans – triggered the push to demolish the dilapidated warehouse at 2201 Mosher St., said Baltimore Development Corp. President William H. Cole IV. The property was used by the Acme supermarket chain until it pulled out of the area years ago.
The Department of General Services is to oversee the $490,000 demolition of the warehouse, which was approved by the Board of Estimates last week.
"There's no active development plan. It really is a safety issue more than anything," Cole said. "It's about to fall down."
The city purchased the property for $1.9 million in 2005 as part of a set of five parcels subsequently marketed for redevelopment as the Acme Business Center.
The 10.7-acre assemblage of properties was met with little interest from developers. In 2008, during its third attempt to market the site, the BDC received one response to a request for proposals. That plan quickly fell through, said former BDC president M.J. "Jay" Brodie.
In January, the city sold two of the parcels to Baltimore tire recycler Emanuel Tire Co., which paid $1.1 million, according to land records. The business had leased the land, now owned through the 2101 Riggs Ave LLC affiliate, for decades.
Emanuel Tire Co. Vice President Mark Rannie said the company didn't want 2201 Mosher St. due to the state of the building, but that could change if it is demolished. Emanuel Tire does not use the site currently, he said.
"It's a property that needs a tremendous amount of work," he said. But, he added, "we would absolutely have interest in the empty lot for storage and just transportation equipment."
Emanuel Tire, founded in Baltimore in 1957, currently employs about 100 people in the city and another roughly 100 at plants in Pennsylvania and Virginia. It handles more than 17 million tires per year, according to company leaders.