Downtown hotel bid rejected Angelos opposes plan for B&O; Warehouse; agency disapproves it

THE BALTIMORE SUN

The Maryland Stadium Authority has rejected a proposal to develop a 125-room hotel within the former B&O; Warehouse at Oriole Park at Camden Yards after Baltimore Orioles Chairman Peter G. Angelos vetoed the proposal.

"The project is certainly dead within the context of the warehouse, but we've encouraged the developers to look at other aspects of the property," said John A. Moag Jr., chairman of the Maryland Stadium Authority, the state agency that owns the 1,000-foot-long warehouse.

"His are not irrational reasons for opposing the project, and it is certainly within his rights under the team's lease."

Among Angelos' objections, contained in a letter sent to the stadium authority last week, are that the proposed $7 million hotel would "detract from the ambience of the park," interfere with its operation and cause parking, security and other logistical problems.

Moag said he told the hotel developers on Friday that the complexity of converting the warehouse to a hotel would make it too difficult a project to complete.

The stadium authority also is weighing other offers for the space, including one from the University of Maryland.

In recent years, the growth of the university's downtown campus and Medical System has outpaced its ability to construct new buildings and caused it to search for nearby facilities. The 333 W. Camden St. warehouse is roughly a quarter mile from the campus.

Despite the rejection, Stellar Investments LLC, a local group that had teamed with Marriott International Inc. to develop the hotel, intends to continue working on its proposal to establish a Courtyard hotel within the eight-story warehouse.

"We're going to keep pushing this," said Tom Shea, a Corridor Real Estate Group agent representing Stellar Investments.

"We don't think they've raised any rational objections."

Shea said Stellar, a group led by investor Michael Sabracos that has invested more than $25,000 in design and legal fees thus far, plans to hold a meeting today to decide what action to take.

But Angelos' objection and the stadium authority's subsequent rejection is likely to make any move irrelevant.

"Utilizing the warehouse as a hotel is not a complementary use and would negatively impact the historical ambience and unique qualities of Camden Yards," Orioles attorney Alan M. Rifkin wrote in a letter to the stadium authority on behalf of Angelos. "A hotel in the warehouse would change the nature of the entire complex, reducing the unique quality of the facility to a more common denominator."

Under Stellar Investments' plan, the Courtyard hotel would occupy 66,800 square feet on four floors of the southern portion of the warehouse.

The project, which Stellar believes would attract business travelers and tourists drawn to the expanded Convention Center and planned Baltimore Ravens football stadium, would create 60 full-time jobs and pay more than $1 million in rent annually to the stadium authority.

The hotel could have opened as early as March 1997.

Pub Date: 5/21/96

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