Design of Mercantile branch released


Representatives of Mercantile-Safe Deposit and Trust Co. provided the first glimpse this week of their proposed bank branch at the northwest corner of Charles and Chase streets.

Architect Edward Hord of Hord Coplan Macht said his original designs called for a one-story bank branch to replace Mercantile's current branch in the Monumental Corp. building at the same intersection. Monumental officials have notified the bank that they will not renew their lease when it expires at the end of 1992.

But bank officials have decided they want to be able to take full advantage of the prominent site by constructing a building that can serve as a base for up to four floors of additional office space when market conditions are right, Mr. Hord said.

"Who knows if it will ever happen, but they want to have that option," he said. "They think the site and location justify something more."

The preliminary plan calls for a bank that would be about 35 feet tall -- about the same as a typical three-story building, but with only one large banking room inside on the Charles Street side. The main entrance would be at Charles and Chase streets and would be capped by a dome.

On the west side, the banking hall would have a mezzanine level with office space.

Members of Baltimore's Design Advisory Panel reviewed the project Thursday and disapproved the site plan and preliminary building concept, said Robert Quilter, the panel's coordinator. They said they would like to see the building physically connected to its neighbor at 1106 N. Charles St. and encouraged the architects to restudy the building's scale and details, including the dome over the entrance.

Members of Baltimore's Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation reviewed the design yesterday. They said they supported the idea of the project but deferred to the Design Advisory Panel and took no action on the design.

Mercantile officials would like to finish the project by late 1992.

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