Hopkins bookstore plans move ahead


The Johns Hopkins University is moving forward with a new bookstore and commercial project across from its Homewood campus that will reshape the streetscape of Charles Village and, officials hope, foster a "college-town atmosphere" in the North Baltimore neighborhood.

The mixed-use project along 33rd Street between North Charles and St. Paul, to be completed by July 2005, will include student housing, parking, retail, office and restaurant space near the bookstore, taking up much of the block.

At least two university-owned structures - a university publications office and the Ivy Hall building, which houses students and a Royal Farm store - will be leveled to clear the L-shaped site.

A brick university garage facing St. Paul Street may or may not remain, but the site will be included in the redevelopment.

University officials said yesterday that no architect or developer has been chosen, but they will accept bids for proposals, which would help it choose a developer this summer or fall.

For years, the Hopkins community and Charles Street residents have lamented the separation between the campus and the colorful neighborhood across Charles Street.

Hopkins officials hope a mixed-use development anchored by a bookstore will evoke the lively street spirit of Harvard Square or Georgetown.

"Inside and outside we heard a unanimous call for a [bookstore] coffee shop and a college town atmosphere," said David McDonough, senior director of development for Johns Hopkins real estate. "We want to make this an inviting place for the community and for Hopkins."

Hopkins officials have long discussed the possibility of a new location for the university's cramped bookstore, now in the basement of Gilman Hall, along with a bank, a post office, a travel agency and other businesses.

Hopkins spokesman Dennis O'Shea said one of the main goals of the university's 2000 master plan was to start building a stronger relationship with the community. That and the renovation of historic Gilman Hall scheduled to start in August 2005 reactivated the university's decision to proceed with its planned move of the bookstore and other businesses.

A Charles Village Civic Association meeting to discuss the concept with university officials will be held at SS. Philip and James Church, 2801 N. Charles St., at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday.

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