A downtown parcel once targeted for an Inner Harbor Medical Center and two high-rise residential towers is now being developed as a 7,000-square-foot restaurant that will open next month.
Bohager's Bar and Grill is the name of the restaurant, which has been under construction since March inside the shell of a warehouse at the northeast corner of Fleet and Eden streets.
It will be owned by Jim Mikula and Tom Douglas, who also own the popular Weber's on Boston restaurant in Canton. They have signed a seven-year lease for the Fleet Street property and plan to open in mid-June. Before the grand opening, they are holding preview parties June 6 from noon to 10 p.m. and June 7 from noon to 6 p.m. to benefit the Fell's Point soup kitchen, Beans and Bread.
Mr. Mikula, who is also a partner in Pierpoint restaurant on Aliceanna Street, said Bohager's will be a moderately-priced "warehouse restaurant," similar to ones in New York and Chicago, and will specialize in ribs, burgers, chops, steaks and seafood cooked on a large indoor grill.
The building, parts of which date back to the late 1800s, has been owned for more than 70 years by Frank P. R. Bohager & Sons. The family ran a waste paper and trash removal operation there but sold the business to Illinois-based Waste Management Inc. in 1983.
Representing an investment of $300,000, the restaurant is the first retail project to get under way in the heavily-industrial area surrounding the 20-acre site of Inner Harbor East, a $350 million waterfront neighborhood that Gilbane Properties and John Paterakis, a Baltimore businessman, are building over the next decade.
It is a sign that the ambitious Inner Harbor East proposal -- designed to contain residences, offices and retail space over an eight-block area -- has the ability to trigger spin-off development.
ARC Studios, a design-build firm headed by Kent Dunn and Don Levin, is the architect and contractor. The restaurant will seat 140 people inside and 65 to 80 outside, and will have off-street parking and shuttles to and from Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Mr. Douglas told members of Baltimore's zoning board last week that he believes the area has great potential. "We're targeting our resources at developing an area that has been an eyesore between the beautiful Inner Harbor and Fells Point. We're trying to establish for the first time what no one else has established -- putting retail in that area -- and I think we'll be able to achieve that."
"We think it's the right thing for the right area and we that's why we're going for it," Mr. Mikula said after the meeting.
Damian Bohager, a member of the family that owns the property, previously was working with a local group that planned to build a $15 million medical office center on the two-acre site. Also involved were a physicians' group headed by Lewis Newberg and the construction firm of Struever Bros., Eccles & Rouse.