Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Big Matty’s Diner fills gap left by Rallo’s closing

When the small diner at 838 E. Fort Ave. in Locust Point — the legendary Rallo’s — closed in September, many regulars were doubly bereft.

They mourned the death of personable owner Vincent Rallo, from lung cancer on July 7, followed by the shut down in September.

Enter Matthew Gurczynski.

A devotee of Rallo’s, he stepped up and opened Big Matty’s Diner opened this fall and rehired all of Rallo’s cooks and waitresses for what has to be the comeback of the year on the South Baltimore peninsula.

The small, homey dining room with its black and white checkerboard floor, lunch counter, booths and tables for four is once again open for business at 7 a.m., serving eggs, home fries and toast followed by soups, sandwiches and platters of meatloaf and crab cakes for lunch.

The diner has been a fixture in Locust Point for nearly 100 years. Vince’s father opened the original Rallo’s near Ft. McHenry in 1920. In 1962, the diner moved up to Fort Avenue.

The same group of 25 regulars comes in each morning for breakfast. They include developers Patrick Turner and Bill Struever as well as City Councilman William H. Cole IV. Employees of Phillips Seafood’s “world headquarters” offices, located across the street, are also known to partake of the good, solid grub here.

*****

The Baltimore Development Corp. is seeking a developer for three properties at Charles Street and North Avenue, including the old Parkway Theatre, which is patterned after London’s famed West End Theatre in Leicester Square.

The nonprofit quasi city development agency Thursday issued a request for proposals for the redevelopment of properties at 1820 North Charles Street, 1 West North Avenue and 3 West North Avenue (the former Parkway Theatre) in the Charles North Urban Renewal Plan and Station North Arts and Entertainment District.

The RFP states the site should enhance the existing Station North Arts and Entertainment District, now under transformation with the redevelopment of the old Chesapeake Restaurant next to the Charles Theater into a market and restaurant.

“The area is home to many successful arts and entertainment venues and is part of the Station North Arts and Entertainment District,” a BDC release on the RFP states. “The Charles North Vision Plan describes a major regional destination for arts, retail and entertainment, proposed significant mixed-use and transit-oriented development.”

The Parkway Theatre was designed by Oliver B. Wright in the Louis XIV style and was envisioned as a Vaudeville performance house with about 1100 seats. The theater was acquired in 1926 by the Loews organization and extensively remodeled as a movie house. It closed in 1952 and then reopened in 1956 as the Five West Art Theatre. The theater has been vacant since 1998.

The site is located in the North Central National Historic District and may be eligible for federal historic tax credit incentives for rehabilitation, BDC officials said. The deadline for receipt of proposals is March 30.

*****

The Mullan Contracting Co. signed a contract to build the $1.7 million Glenwood Fire Station, in western Howard County, this week to serve Clarksville, West Friendship and Lisbon.

The station will be located at 14620 Carrs Mills Road. It will be a 10,000-square-foot structure and is expected to be completed in the summer. The new fire house will have three drive-through bays for the housing of fire and emergency response equipment, a bunkhouse and administrative offices, kitchen facilities and meeting space and a small social gathering hall for community gatherings.

Mullan is also building an 11,000-square-foot station in Anne Arundel County, the Marley Fire Station, and is renovating a station in Carroll County, the Sykesville-Freedom Fire Company.

****

B-Cycle is coming to Baltimore. Think Zipcar, only sub in a bicycle.

The bike sharing program now operating in nine U.S. cities will open here with 250 bikes at 30 stations beginning in mid-2012. The first half hour is free and then the meter starts with a charge for additional 30-minute increments.

The bikes will be placed near the waterfront developments.

*****

A $120,000 grant was made to St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center Inc. this week by Wells Fargo and Co. to help pay for the rehab of 30 vacant city homes.

The grant is part of a $5.5 million program by the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation to help rebuild communities. In all 52 U.S. nonprofits received awards. St. Ambrose is the city’s oldest nonprofit housing agency and has served more than 110,000 residents in its homeownership counseling, foreclosure prevention, rental services, housing development and home-sharing programs.

*****

The Boeing Co.’s Electronic and Mission Systems Division this week signed a lease with St. John Properties for a 26,000-square-foot office in the Government and Technology Enterprise (GATE) development at Aberdeen Proving Ground.

The 416-acre business park located on APG will hold 100 new employees with the Boeing move. The EMS division will support the proving ground’s huge Command, Control, Computer, Communication, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) Command operation as part of the base realignment and closure.

*****

NAI KLNB this week brokered the $3.4 million sale of 11011 McCormick Rd. in Hunt Valley to Brawner Builders Inc.

The building, a 58,000-square-foot office and flex space, opens up on McCormick Road and is about a mile from Shawan Road and the Hunt Valley Towne Centre. Neighbors include Sentient Medical Management.

Brawner Builders intends to consolidate multiple locations and establish its corporate headquarters there, using 23,000 square feet of space in early 2012. The remaining 18,000 square feet of space will be marketed for lease by James Caronna and Bill Miller of NAI KLNB.