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Design panel to review plans for EBDI Gateway Hotel

Plans for a new hotel near the Johns Hopkins University medical campus, to be developed as part of the East Baltimore Development Inc. project, are slated to go before a city design panel next week.

The proposed EBDI Gateway Hotel at Madison and Wolfe Streets is expected to be 180 feet tall and will include a health club and retail space, EBDI plans show. The city’s Urban Design and Architecture Review Panel is scheduled to consider schematics for a planned unit development to incorporate the hotel at its regular meeting May 9.

City Councilman Carl Stokes, an EBDI board member whose 12th District includes part of the development site, said the 160,000-square-foot, 175-room hotel is to be developed by Ronald H. Lipscomb, who pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws in June 2009. Lipscomb’s once-influential company, Doracon Contracting Inc., was liquidated in a 2011 bankruptcy proceeding.

Lipscomb is a member of Presidential Partners-New East Baltimore Partnership LLC, the minority group that has teamed up with EBDI’s master developer, Forest City-New East Baltimore Partnership LLP, at the ongoing $1.8 billion redevelopment of Middle East.

Scott A. Levitan, senior vice president for Forest City-New East Baltimore Partnership, did not return a call for comment on Thursday.

The hotel will be built on property that was once residential and was cleared by EBDI in order to make way for a world-class biotech park linked to Hopkins researchers.

Plans for the biotech park have been scaled back over the past six years under two revisions to the master plan for the 88-acre EBDI site. The overall plan now calls for construction of the hotel, smaller life sciences buildings, up to 1,200 new residential units of rental and market-rate housing and a park. Hopkins is managing construction of a $42 million public charter school at the site.

Gensler, a San Francisco-based architectural firm, is designing the new hotel, expected to break ground later this year, the UDARP agenda shows.

The hotel developer listed on the UDARP agenda is “Navitus LLC.” No contact information was given for Navitus and no LLC by that name is listed on the State Department of Assessments and Taxation’s business information website.

Lipscomb’s 2009 plea deal came as the Office of the Maryland State Prosecutor was pursuing a corruption case against then-Mayor Sheila A. Dixon, whom Lipscomb had dated while she was a City Council member.

While the state prosecutor intended to have Lipscomb testify against Dixon, he was never called to the stand.

A year after entering his guilty plea, Lipscomb was fined $25,000 and given a suspended sentence.

SDAT revoked Presidential Partners’ Maryland charter for unpaid taxes in October 2010, but the charter has since been reinstated.