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Baltimore OKs West Side land sale

Baltimore’s spending board approved the sale of a collection of West Side properties to a developer for $300,000.

The Board of Estimates approved a land disposition agreement with HTA Development LLC on Wednesday, according to a news release. The company intends to build the $17.5 million M on Madison, a workforce housing development with 70-74 units.

“We look forward to the opportunity of creating another housing development in this great location in Baltimore,” said Wally Scruggs, principal of HTA Development LLC.  “We look to build upon the success of the M on Madison.  This project is an important part of the connecting neighborhoods in downtown Baltimore, and we thank BDC and other city partners for their confidence in our work.”

In February of 2014, the Baltimore Development Corp. issued a request for proposal for these properties, which are referred to as the Liberty Clay Marion site. The agreement between the city and HTA Development does not include all of the properties included in the request for proposal. The disposition agreement includes 213-215 Park Ave., 105-107 Clay St. and 208,210-216 N. Liberty St.

According to data released by the city with the request for proposal, there are 4,334 residents living in the Liberty Clay Marion area with 2,650 apartments and condos with an apartment occupancy rate of 96 percent.

The city for years has been trying to revitalize downtown’s West Side. The area, which was once a major shopping hub in Baltimore, has experienced significant disinvestment as the department stores that were a major attraction closed or followed customers to the suburbs. As those trends continued, the area gained a reputation as unsafe and has been portrayed as an open air drug market.

But in recent years the city has made a concerted effort to revitalize the area, with mixed results. Much of the area has been re-christened the Bromo Tower Arts & Entertainment District. The city has also formed the UniverCity Partnership with University of Maryland, Baltimore to attract more investment dollars.

This summer Enterprise Homes broke ground on the $22.3 million Mulberry at Park Apartments. Washington Baltimore Development Group also presented plans for a 15-story mixed-use development in the 300 block of Howard Street. In June the city released another request for proposal seeking redevelopment for 20 city-owned properties on a site called Howard East.

The city also announced this month it had awarded a contract to Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects for architectural, engineering and specialty consulting services for a planned $26.7 million overhaul of the nearby historic Lexington Market.

About Adam Bednar

Adam Bednar covers real estate and development for The Daily Record.