City seeks new police headquarters site


The city of Baltimore is seeking "submissions" from developers or property owners who are able to provide between 296,000 and 433,000 square feet of office space within the city limits.

John Hentschel, real estate officer for the city, said his office is seeking space where it would be possible to move the city police headquarters, which needs about 296,000 square feet, and possibly other city offices, which he did not want to specify.

Mr. Hentschel said city officials have already considered several sites for the police department -- including the former Hecht Co. department store at Howard and Lexington streets and the former Montgomery Ward distribution center on Monroe Street -- and hasn't ruled them out.

But before making a final decision, he said, the city wants to see what else is available. He said the city will consider renting or purchasing a new building or a newly refurbished building and has set March 11 as the suggested deadline for expressions of interest from developers.

"The real estate market right now is favorable" for prospective tenants, he said. "This is to some extent an attempt to shake the apple tree and see what falls off. . . . We just want to make sure we haven't overlooked anything."

The Police Department, with about 1,800 employees, is moving out of its building on Fayette Street because of defects in the mechanical system. The Central District police station, also near City Hall, is not moving. Mr. Hentschel said he hopes to make some decisions on sites by the middle of the year.


Administrators at Homewood Hospital South are revising their expansion plans for the 288-bed facility at 27th and North Charles streets and most likely will build less than envisioned two years ago.

Hospital administrators unveiled preliminary plans in 1989 to raze half a dozen row houses in the 2700 block of North Charles Street and build a seven-story structure containing physicians' offices and support facilities for the hospital. Gould Associates would have been the architect.

Since then the hospital has hired Blunden, Barclay and Associates of Cleveland and begun developing a new master plan that can be carried out in phases. According to hospital spokeswoman Melissa Richardson, administrators are still considering razing the town houses south of the hospital but probably would not construct anything in their place immediately. Other components of the plan include moving the entrance from Charles Street to 27th Street and resurfacing the Charles Street facade.

In addition, the hospital recently bought the old SS. Philip and James Church school on 27th Street between Charles Street and Maryland Avenue and plans to convert it to a day-care facility for its employees and others in the community, Ms. Richardson said. A presentation to the Charles Village community originally planned for tonight has been canceled, but administrators most likely will set up a new meeting with the community early this spring, she said.


Around the region:

* The vacancy rate for Class A office space in downtown Baltimore was 12.7 percent at the end of 1990, down from 12.8 percent Sept. 30, 1990, according to a quarterly report by Coldwell Banker Commercial Real Estate Services. The vacancy rate for Class B office space in downtown Baltimore was 20.9 percent, up from 20.5 percent during the previous quarter, according to Coldwell Banker. Combined, the Class A and Class B markets had a vacancy rate of 16.7 percent at the end of last year, the firm said.

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