Port Covington shopping plan presented to design panel; Builder proposing 'big-box' retail center on Cromwell Street site; Development


Developers of a retail project that would be Baltimore's first "big box" shopping center showed early plans yesterday to the city's Design Advisory Panel.

Starwood Ceruzzi is proposing a 400,000-square-foot waterfront center anchored by two warehouse-style superstores -- a home improvement center and a warehouse club -- on 45 acres on Cromwell Street in Port Covington. Plans call for a strip the length of several city blocks of high-volume "category-killer" retailers and food and service shops. The developer has not finalized any retailers, said Gregory A. Goldberg, a Starwood vice president.

The Connecticut-based developers presented landscaping designs yesterday, including plans to stabilize the shoreline along the peninsula east of Hanover Street. Starwood has a contract with CSX Corp. to purchase the property and needs the City Council to amend the land-use ordinance governing the site. The proposed project will go before the city Planning Commission on May 25.

Members of the design panel reacted favorably to initial plans, but asked developers to break up the central, 1,900-space parking lot with pedestrian pathways and landscaping. They also asked for more than a "stripped down" big box design.

"I've seen big box ... done with some sensitivity, even with some flair," said panel member M. J. "Jay" Brodie, president of Baltimore Development Corp.

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