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Angelos swaps land with state


In a land swap, lawyer and Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos is donating a 700-foot strip of Towson land to the state for the widening of the Baltimore Beltway's inner-loop York Road exit.

In exchange, the state plans to deed to Mr. Angelos a smaller piece of land that would allow him to build an extra entrance from nearby West Road to the five-acre site he owns at the Beltway intersection. He already has access from York Road.

No money was exchanged in the deal, Mr. Angelos and a state official said.

The swap will help ease a bottleneck at the exit, state highway officials say. It also will pave the way for Mr. Angelos -- who said his donated strip was appraised at about $1 million -- to complete plans to build a major commercial project on the land.

The exit is a major rush-hour bottleneck because traffic leaving the inner loop slows at a blinking yellow light at the T-shaped intersection with West Road. Vehicles often back up onto the Beltway, creating the potential for accidents.

Traffic moving along West Road from York to Kenilworth Drive is blocked by the stream of Beltway motorists, who have the right-of-way.

The widening being constructed will provide two lanes for vehicles exiting the Beltway and turning left onto West Road to York Road. A traffic signal will be installed at the ramp and West Road, replacing the blinking yellow light.

Mr. Angelos first announced plans to build a $20 million, nine-story hotel, retail, cinema and office tower on the site in the late 1980s, but it was never begun.

"I've had a number of proposals from various companies. Nothing is definite yet," he said yesterday, because "I haven't made a decision about how I want to use the site."

The land is now vacant.

County planning officials said a portion of the rear of the site that was once zoned for residential development was rezoned in 1992 to allow most large commercial uses, including automobile sales or restaurants.

"He's giving us about five times what we're giving him," said Christian Larson, right-of-way chief for Maryland's highway department.

Although the agreement on the land swap was reached nearly a year ago, Mr. Larson said it has not been approved formally by the state Board of Public Works, which is composed of the governor, the comptroller and the state treasurer.

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