The Board of Public Works gave preliminary approval Wednesday to a land-swap deal that would give the University of Baltimore 2.5 acres in the heart of its campus area in exchange for finding a new location for a U.S. Postal Service truck repair facility.
The university has long coveted the West Oliver Street parcel, a rare patch of developable land in one of Baltimore's most built up neighborhoods. But since 1963 the site has been used for maintenance by the Postal Service – a use university and city officials see as out of place in that area.
The university negotiated a deal under which it would acquire the parcel, valued at $5-6 million, in return for providing the Postal Service with a new facility on 4 acres on Ashland Avenue in a largely industrial area of East Baltimore. The cost to the university was estimated at $9.1 million. The board action clears the way for the university to negotiate final terms, which would then be brought back to the board.
President Robert Bogomolny said the university has not yet decided what it would do with the property but said the school faces a growing need for dormitory space and recreational facilities. Gov. Martin O'Malley told Bogomolny that "as a former mayor of Baltimore, I am so glad you got this site."