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Harbor Point developers present plans for site's next building

Beatty Development Group said Thursday that it hopes to break ground early next year on its next building in Harbor Point — an 18-story complex with 285 apartments.

The development firm, which is working with Henson Development Co. on the Point Street Apartments, outlined plans before the city's design review panel for the 290,000-square-foot building, which would be located on what is currently a parking lot just west of the historic Ferndale Fence & Awning building and behind Thames Street Wharf, where Morgan Stanley has its offices.

Marco Greenberg, Beatty's vice president of development, said the firm hopes to open the apartments in the summer of 2016, around the same time as the new Exelon headquarters. He declined to disclose the building's estimated cost.

The price tag for the entire 27-acre spot, the site of a former chromium plant, is estimated at $1.8 billion, including some $400 million in public subsidies. Once complete, the project would fill the gap along the waterfront between Fells Point and Harbor East with more than 900 residences, 1.6 million square feet of offices and about 9.5 acres of public open space.

The first Harbor Point building, the Thames Street Wharf offices, opened in 2010. Beatty Development announced its sale for $89 million in April. Construction of the 20-story Exelon offices started this spring.

Designs for the next piece, by Ayers Saint Gross and Beatty Harvey Coco Architects LLP, show a roughly 300-foot-long building in three sections, with square, lattice-like lines of pale yellow concrete bordering big glass windows that look south and east. The building includes a pool on the 11th floor, as well as space for an unidentified retailer on the first floor.

The plans stay within size guidelines previously approved by the city, which capped height at under 200 feet, but call for a more rectangular building than the original, which wrapped around, creating three sides of a courtyard.

The goal was to maximize views from the apartments, said architect Kevin Johnson of Ayers Saint Gross.

"We really wanted to try to shape the building … in terms of the best views," he said. "Once we reshaped the building … it really opened up this green space and … I think it will be much friendlier."

Members of the Urban Design and Architecture Review Panel said they liked the change, as well as a decision to scrap a proposed drop-off space for cars between the Wharf offices and the Point Street apartments. Instead the designers located garage entrances off the streets and added a park that leads out to the waterfront promenade.

Despite the praise, panelists said they would not formally approve the schematic because many questions have yet to be addressed, especially landscaping for the park, which is supposed to create a slope and hide some of the parking garage.

"How you treat that I think is really going to be critical," said panelist Richard Burns, adding later, "We at least need to have some idea what the intent is landscaping-wise."

Planning Director Thomas J. Stosur echoed his concerns.

"In all of this," he said, "the parks are very, very important as well, so I'm looking forward to seeing more of those details as they develop."

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