The developer and architects of a proposed apartment tower at the former Della Notte site, located at 801 Eastern Ave., unveiled basic design plans for the project to Baltimore’s architecture review panel on Tuesday.
The building, at the entrance of Little Italy and Harbor East, is in a hub of new development in Baltimore east of the Inner Harbor and is one of a handful of mixed-use developments working its way through the development pipeline. The proposed building would serve as almost a transition piece between the traditional Little Italy and the more modern design of Harbor East.
“What’s so great about the site is its proximity to old neighborhoods that are up-and-coming and new neighborhoods that are up-and-coming,” said B. Lee Driskill, principal at architecture firm Hord Coplan Macht .
Currently, the plan calls for a 16-story building, 243 apartments and 7,000 square feet of retail space at either end of the development. Neil Tucker and Doug Schmidt, partners at developer WorkShop Development Inc., said they hope to formally submit more detailed schematics of the building to the panel in March.
“You saw some of the layout, some of the massing of the building, where things are located, how people flow and traffic flow. Those were the main issue today. So we’re not to the skin or the look of it yet,” Schmidt said.
The developers also said that because the building isn’t a shopping center that retail uses will be services for residents living in the area.
“We’ve seen other examples like the Dodge Garage where they tried to put in Office Depot in there and it struggled,” Tucker said.
Urban Design and Architecture Review Panels members criticized the building generally about some of its massing and how it would relate to smaller buildings in Little Italy.
“You appear to be serving a couple of different masters, none which have the same basis in utilitarianism,” Judith Meany said.
Although not all of the feedback on the plans, which are still very much in the basic concept phase, was negative.
“There’s a lot to like,” panelist Rich Burns said.
Donna Beth Joy Shapiro, who lives at the nearby Scarlett Place Condominiums, expressed concern about the amount of parking associated with the development, but said there needs to be something built because the empty building is “ugly.”
“We need to have a building on the Della Notte site,” Shapiro said.