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UMB BioPark
This rendering shows initial plans for an apartment complex at the BioPark.

UMB plans BioPark high-rise apartments

The building is still in the design phase

The University of Maryland, Baltimore plans to pursue a private developer to build a high-rise market-rate apartment building at its BioPark.

A conceptual design for the building was unveiled during President Jay Perman’s State of the University speech on Thursday. James Hughes, the university’s vice president and chief enterprise and economic development officer, said the building would have about 300 units and would be at the corner of West Baltimore Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The structure would sit atop a planned underground stop on the Red Line, a proposed train line planned to connect the east and west ends of the city.

“The residential is really just at the design phase and we have been working with Ayers Saint Gross [architects], who has done the master plan for the BioPark, to come up with a concept,” Hughes said.

He said the building would serve students, faculty, staff and residents not affiliated with the school. The zoning required for the building is already in place at the site, but Hughes emphasized the project is only in the conceptual stages.

“This isn’t going to be built tomorrow,” he said.

This is the latest addition to the BioPark that was initially planned only to have biomedical buildings on the campus. The project has expanded from 5 acres to 12 acres. The university also went through the legislative process of obtaining planned unit development approval from the city that allowed it to add mixed-use to the project.

As part of the BioPark expansion, the $200 million Maryland Proton Treatment Center is complete and expected to start treating patients next year. The university is also in discussions with a developer to build a hotel that would open in the spring of 2016 to serve the BioPark.

“We are delighted by who we are working with now, it’s not a done deal, but we’re very hopeful it will be under construction in the fall,” Hughes said.

The university will also be putting out request for proposals this summer seeking developers for university-owned properties, such as the old Sons of Italy building on the West Side. The school will be looking for uses that fit in with Everyman Theatre, the Hippodrome Theatre and the Bromo district as a whole.

Trying to improve the area between the university complex and Lexington Market will also be a focus for the university.

“We’re all committed to making a difference to the market and we’ve got usually about 25,000 people a day on this campus … and you know that represents a great customer base for the market, but if the walk to the market is not more attractive we’re going to hinder those opportunities,” Perman said.