An apartment building planned on the prominent site of the former Della Notte restaurant near Harbor East would rise several stories taller and add more than 100 units under a new $130 million plan unveiled as a Virginia apartment firm joins the project.
The new plan, from Baltimore-based WorkShop Development and AvalonBay Communities, calls for about 380 apartments, with a 24th-floor pool and roof deck, 8,000 to 10,000 square feet of retail and a parking garage with more than 350 spaces.
The team hopes to break ground in the second quarter 2018, opening the apartments about two years later.
"Our intention is to move this as quickly as possible to the next step," said Martin J. Howle, a senior vice president of development for AvalonBay.
In 2015, WorkShop presented plans for a 16-story, roughly 240-unit tower, but the project appeared to stall as investor interest in apartments started to subside. Last year, the firm won approval for unlimited height during the city's comprehensive rezoning.
The flexibility of the new designation helped attract AvalonBay, which was looking to enter Baltimore's urban market, Howle said. The real estate investment trust, which has a portfolio of more than 83,000 apartments, already has established a presence with developments in nearby suburbs.
Details of the partnership still are being negotiated, but AvalonBay intends to own and manage the building over the long term, Howle said. Rents would average about $2,000 a month.
Richard Manekin of WorkShop emphasized AvalonBay's financial capacity as a publicly traded firm.
"The most important thing to us was to get this project done," he said.
The city's Urban Design and Architecture Review Panel recommended initial approval of the project Thursday, praising the glass-and-brick design, punctuated by balconies, by Hord Coplan Macht architects. Panelist Pavlina Ilieva said she appreciated the way the building is starting to expand the Harbor East district, but had concerns about the bulk of some sides of the building.