Community Considers Howard St. Redevelopment

by Lynda Lambert
     In 1977, Baltimore City created the “Market Center Plan,” an urban renewal plan meant to revitalize the Howard and Lexington business district. Since the plan was formulated, it has suffered 11 amendments, and now number 12 will soon be considered.
     Through Amendment No. 12, Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) seeks to obtain the authority to “acquire 127 privately-owned properties, create new disposition lots, recommend certain land use changes, and update the urban renewal text to reflect current conditions and planning efforts.”
     In plain English, BDC wants the authority to acquire the properties between Saratoga and Fayette Streets, on the west side of Howard to Park Avenue through whatever means available, beginning with the attempt to purchase, but not excluding the possibility of condemnation. They will then form these buildings into development parcels and offer them for private development.
     The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation has already created a plan for the parcel known as the Stewart’s block. Phase 1 of The West Side Plan, as it is called, seeks to save and restore the architectural treasure that was the Stewart’s department store, while demolishing some current storefronts along Lexington Street to make way for an apartment building housing 174 units.
     Phase I investment is put at $70 million.
     In an effort to garner support for Amendment No. 12, the West Side Plan has been presented to concerned groups, including down-town small business owners, residents, Baltimore Heritage, Inc, Preservation Maryland, and, most recently, on January 27, Citizens Planning and Housing Association (CPHA), which has formed a committee to study the plan and make recommendations.
     Those interested in learning more about the West Side Plan may wish to contact CPHA (410-539-1369) or attend the City Planning Commission meeting on Thursday, February 4, at which Amendment No. 12 is expected to be discussed.

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This story was published on Feb. 3, 1999.