Cohen hopes to revive Fawcett deal

Annapolis Mayor Josh Cohen is hoping to resurrect a redevelopment proposal for a key waterfront property in the state capital.

On Monday, the prospective buyers of the former Fawcett Boat Supplies building on Compromise Street said they were walking away from their deal because they were frustrated with strident opposition they encountered from a newly-formed group called Save Annapolis.

But Cohen said on Friday night that he's convinced Save Annapolis members to agree to "come to the table" to talk about their concerns.

"I'm still hoping there's a way to salvage this project, but there's still a wide gap to close," he said.

Cohen is sponsoring a rezoning bill that would pave the way for a group led by Mark Ordan, CEO of Sunrise Senior Living, to tear down the old Fawcett building -- which has been vacant for three years -- and replace it with a two-and-a-half story building with shops or restaurants on the ground floor and offices above.

Cohen's rezoning bill was scheduled for a public hearing at this Monday's City Council meeting. The mayor said he'll ask aldermen to vote to postpone the hearing while he continues to talk with Save Annapolis and Ordan.

Save Annapolis members have said the Fawcett project would be too tallk, out of place in the historic downtown area and would diminish the area's maritime character.

Cohen also will ask for a postponement on a public hearing on a new City Dock master plan.

"I think everyone's interested in acheiving a consensus," Cohen said. "So long as the different groups are talking, that's good."

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