Locust Point group opposes Tide Point plan

The Baltimore Sun

Members of a Locust Point community group objected yesterday to a developer's plans to expand the Tide Point business park in South Baltimore by adding homes, offices, shops and a museum.

Locust Point residents are concerned that new development proposed by Tide Point developer Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse won't fit into the rowhouse-dominated neighborhood, a community association representative said yesterday during a presentation to a city design panel.

The community group is worried that the development, which includes a 15-story parking and residential building, will obstruct residents' downtown and water views while exacerbating a parking crunch.

The plans were shown for the first time to the Urban Design and Architecture Review Panel as the initial step in requesting a zoning change needed to develop properties near the business park, which sits close to industrial uses such as the Domino Sugar plant. Tide Point was a closed Procter & Gamble factory that Struever redeveloped as an office campus. It houses Struever's main office and tenants such as Under Armour Inc.

Members of the design panel yesterday deferred a vote on the proposed master plan, asking the developer to return with some revisions. But members said they were impressed with plans to bring new residences to the area, fill in gaps and provide greater public access to the waterfront.

One panel member said he believed the site could accommodate even more development. "I think it's a modest plan given the location of the site and the promise of a place on the waterfront," Gary Bowden said. "There is an opportunity there for more density."

Besides the 15-story building, Struever is proposing a 200,000-square-foot, seven-story office building adjacent to the existing Joy Building, about 10,000 square feet of retail along Key Highway, and housing in two, four-story apartment buildings, and three, four-story condominium buildings. The project would also include 15 three-story townhouses as well as a Baltimore Immigration Museum on the waterfront.

Members of the Locust Point Civic Association submitted a letter outlining their concerns and said they still objected even though the developer had reduced originally proposed building heights and densities.

"We disagree that this is a smaller plan - to us it feels huge," Anthony Vittoria, a civic association representative, told the panel.

He said the city's master plan set guidelines several years ago saying Locust Point should get only 820 new housing units - 500 of which are already being developed as part of the Silo Point condominium tower under way. Struever proposes adding 600 to 700 units.

"To us, it's not good urban planning," Vittoria said. "Locust Point is a neighborhood of rowhouses where people do sit out on their stoops. ... It will build a wall blocking off views of the water and downtown."

C. William "Bill" Struever, chief executive officer and president of the development company, told the design panel that a key part of the plan includes redevelopment of a warehouse near the business park for the expansion of Under Armour Inc.

Getting financing for the warehouse redevelopment, which has been granted city approval, is dependent on getting the changes in the planned unit development zoning also needed for the addition of homes and

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