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Mill owners expect to have tenant soon


Owners of the Mount Washington Mill say they are close to landing a tenant that will enable them to start converting the mill to an office and retail complex with nearly 80,000 square feet of leasable space.

Developer Samuel Himmelrich Jr. of Himmelrich Associates told city officials this month the Maryland Institute College of Art is a possible tenant for his $3 million development at 1330 to 1430 Smith Avenue.

Mr. Himmelrich said the college has been looking for a new site for its School of Continuing Studies. He said it has been considering leasing space on the first level of the "forge building" that is slated for rehabilitation to supplement the facilities it has in Bolton Hill and the Columbia Arts Center.

Director of continuing studies Mark Neustadt confirmed that the college has been exploring expansion sites and that officials are interested in the mill property. Another possible site is the former Hutzler's department store in Towson, according to a local group that is exploring plans to convert that building into an arts center. Himmelrich Associates gained control of the property in 1989 and announced plans to convert it to a business park in phases.

Because the land is zoned for industrial use, Mr. Himmelrich said, his group is seeking passage of city legislation that will enable it to carry out the project as a "planned unit development." The developers also are seeking passage of legislation that would enable it to have up to 6,000 square feet of retail space.

Built between 1808 and the 1950s, the vacant mill is the oldest surviving cotton mill in Maryland. Mr. Himmelrich said he could not identify any other prospective tenants but hopes he will reach agreement with one or more of them soon. Once an agreement is reached, he explained, work will begin on the restoration of the space the tenant will occupy. Werner Mueller of Atelier Three Architects is the designer for the project, and Nationsbank is the lender.

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