City chooses Maryland Film Festival proposal for Parkway Theatre

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and the Baltimore Development Corp. have selected the Maryland Film Festival's proposal for the renovation of the historic Parkway Theatre at 3 W. North Ave., according to an official who spoke Thursday morning at the BDC's monthly board meeting.

The city hopes to enter into an exclusive negotiating agreement with the Film Festival shortly, said Darrell Doan, a BDC staffer who manages the corporation's real estate transactions.

The Film Festival is partnering with the Maryland Institute College of Art and Johns Hopkins University on their proposal for the Parkway. The colleges would hold classes at the facility.

Here's what the Sun reported in September about the Film Festival group's plan:

The Maryland Film Festival is suggesting a $16.8 million renovation of the theater. The buildings would be used as a year-round three-screen cinema, live music venue and education center.

In addition to renovating the Parkway, the building at the corner of West North and North Charles streets would gain a glass facade at the ground level and a wrap-around marquee would light the sidewalk.

The upper floors of 1 W. North Ave. and 1820 N. Charles St., which would have its facade restored, would be used for screening rooms. A restaurant and bar would be installed in the Charles Street structure.

Two other groups also suggested plans for the Parkway, but the board and mayor's office determined the Film Festival's proposal was the most viable option.

Thursday's board meeting was the first for the BDC's new president, Brenda McKenzie, whose immediate past job was as an economic development officer in Boston. She started at the BDC on Monday.

Staff from the BDC's divisions presented overviews of their work to McKenzie and the board, to bring everyone up to speed on the corporation's activities throughout 2012.

Other tidbits gleaned from the presentations:

  • Next year, the BDC's business development team will be hosting an event for Washington-based businesses to entice them to move their operations, or expand, to Baltimore.
  • There are efforts underway to replace the out-dated "sugar cube" streetlights around the Inner Harbor.
  • There is a plan for a "German Christmas Village" at the Inner Harbor for the 2013 holiday season.
  • Several development projects are moving forward throughout the city, including a proposal for the development of 200 market-rate apartments by Commercial Interiors Inc. in Jonestown and the construction of a supermarket in Howard Park.

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