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Baltimore preps properties near Horseshoe casino for sale

Baltimore is preparing to sell two properties near the Horseshoe Casino Baltimore for redevelopment, relocating the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter.

The City Council approved changes this week to a plan passed in 2002 to overhaul the industrial zone, adding outdoor recreational use to the possibilities for the area. The changes were made in anticipation of the sale of 1411 Warner St. and 301 Stockholm St., which are used as parking and the BARCS facility.

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The goal is to enable creation of an "entertainment hub" near the casino and sports stadiums, according to letters filed with the legislation. One of the ideas being floated includes an outdoor golf driving range, said City Councilman Robert W. Curran.

Baltimore Development Corp. spokeswoman Susan Yum said there are no specific plans for the properties, which would go through a public sale process.

One of the parcels, 1411 Warner St., is already locked up in an options agreement with the development team behind the casino, CBAC Gaming. In April, the city granted a two-year extension to the firm to exercise its right to buy the property and nearby 701 Ostend St., both now used as parking lots for the Ravens.

Developer Arthur Adler of Caves Valley Partners, one of the firms involved in CBAC Gaming, declined to comment on plans for the site. Leaders at Horseshoe have said they want to add a hotel to the operation eventually.

Erin Chamberlin, senior vice president and general manager of Horseshoe Casino Baltimore, said in a statement that the company has no "immediate plans" to pursue a hotel, but "we certainly envision a time when such a project could serve as a prominent component of the area's broader redevelopment."

The city has not settled on a new site for BARCS, which was created to run the city's shelter operations in 2005, although discussions have occurred on and off for years, executive director Jennifer Brause said.

The organization, which provides care for more than 12,000 animals each year, estimates that it would need about $18 million to build a new, expanded shelter, Brause said last year. Curran, who made animal welfare one of his signature causes, said he hopes the sale of the properties would help finance those plans.

Curran said he has sought assurances from city agencies and the administration that no sale will occur unless a new BARCS facility is ready. He said he hopes the organization, which has outgrown its current spot, will be able to move into a new building in the next two to three years.

The city in 2002 passed an urban renewal plan to try to overhaul the Carroll Camden industrial zone, targeting the area that now hosts the casino. The changes approved by the City Council this week further update that plan.

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