Report due on cruise ship terminal site

A consultant's recommendation on the proposed Inner Harbor cruise ship terminal is expected shortly, amid speculation that the site of the former Allied Signal Inc. chrome plant will be designated as the best location.

Post, Buckley, Schuh and Jernigan, a Florida architectural and design firm, has been evaluating plans to construct a passenger terminal on the waterfront parcel between the Inner Harbor and Fells Point near Philpot and Wills streets. The chrome plant was closed in 1985.


Also under consideration is a parcel adjacent to the HarborView condominiums off Key Highway near the Rusty Scupper restaurant.

"We have been led to believe that the Allied site is the preferred site although nothing is settled yet," said Nelson Adlin, a Fells Point developer and member of the community's task force that has tracked plans for the site.


A final decision has not been made, according to the Maryland Port Administration.

Allied is spending about $90 million to decontaminate the 27-acre chrome processing site so that it might be redeveloped into a waterfront community of offices, residences and shops. The passenger terminal would be located on the southeast corner of the parcel -- an area that is not contaminated, according to MPA.

Port officials are evaluating each site to determine how much dredging would be needed to accommodate vessels as large as the Queen Elizabeth II and whether the sites allow enough turning space. In addition, they're examining environmental concerns and access to the sites.

Despite the recession, the cruise industry has grown substantially in recent years. But just 17 passenger liners a year sail into Baltimore, docking at the Dundalk Marine Terminal several miles from any tourist attractions. More often, cruise liners sail out of Florida, Puerto Rico and New York.

Maryland port officials and many Baltimore businessmen believe Inner Harbor terminal could help attract more ships and boost tourism for local businesses.

"Once a passenger ship docks, people will have two immediate choices, Harborplace and Fells Point," said Mr. Adlin. "This [site] would be a real boost to the community."

State officials want to find private funding for the terminal, which ideally would also be used as a multi-purpose community center. Neither Allied nor the city of Baltimore apparently has indicated a willingness to finance it.

MPA-Ceres dispute continues to simmer


The dispute continues to simmer between the MPA and Ceres Terminals Inc. with Ceres ignoring the state's deadline for paying nearly $1 million it allegedly owes the state in rent and other fees in connection with its operation at Dundalk Marine Terminal.

In an April 7 letter, the MPA demanded the money within 10 days and threatened to evict the port's largest stevedoring company. The Hoboken, N.J., company hires longshoremen to load and unload ships and operates one of the two private mini-terminals at Dundalk, processing cargo from ships and barges onto trucks and vice versa.

"We certainly have not received payment from Ceres," said port spokesman Ray Feldmann. "We're now preparing correspondence."