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Kevin Plank's Recreation Pier hotel plan moves forward

The city's Board of Estimates is to vote Wednesday on a plan for a hotel on the historic Recreation Pier in Fells Point, calling for the city to alter an ordinance to allow the Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank-backed hotel to proceed without a public promenade around the property.

Instead of the promenade, Sagamore Development Co., controlled by Plank and Chevy Chase developer Marc Weller, would be required to make improvements to Thames Street, from Ann Street to South Broadway and in front of the pier, according to the agenda for Wednesday's Board of Estimates meeting.

Earlier this spring, Sagamore representatives sought and received neighborhood support for a plan that would locate a 128-room hotel on the pier without the costly promenade. The Maryland Historic Trust also wrote in support of the proposal, arguing that installing a walkway while complying with historic preservation standards would be "difficult if not impossible," according to the agenda.

Company officials said previously the project is expected to cost about $60 million and open in late 2016.

Built in 1914, the Recreation Pier originally stored port cargo. The building was used as a community center and television studio for "Homicide: Life on the Street," but closed after the show went off the air in 1999.

The city approved a plan for a hotel in 2004, requiring the promenade as a condition for receiving the development rights. In 2010, it sold the iconic, deteriorating waterfront parcel for $2 million to the development team, which included J. Joseph Clarke and H & S Properties Development.

The proposed amendment to the 2008 agreement approves the transfer of the property to Sagamore and requires the company to file for a building permit within nine months after approval of the change. The amendment also states the city will work to change an ordinance that requires the promenade walkway.

Weller, who is listed as the agent for the buyer on public documents tied to about 70 acres of property purchased in recent years in Port Covington, did not respond to a request for comment Monday evening. Sagamore development manager Shawn Batterton also did not respond to a request for comment.


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