Sam Himmelrich, of Himmelrich Associates, is in the process of purchasing the Pepsi plant in the Hampden neighborhood.
“There is a pending financial transaction that involves a sale and lease back to Pepsi of the Pepsi property … they are going to be there for some indefinite period of time, and that the new owner, Mr. Himmerlrich is beginning to consider potential redevelopment options in the event that Pepsi leaves,” said Al Barry, of land use consultant firm AB Associates.
The deal, and plans for a Transit Oriented Development at the site, came to light after The Daily Record obtained a copy of an email where the project was discussed by community leaders. Community leaders from Hampden, Medfield and Woodberry were briefed on the project on Monday.
The email, which was sent on Tuesday, includes the nugget that the deal could be closed in “a few days.” It also discusses the possibility of a 75,000-square-foot Harris Teeter Neighborhood Food & Pharmacy and Himmelrich’s urgency to move forward with the project because it requires the area be designated as a Transit Oriented Development.
That would require Councilman Nick Mosby, who represents the area, to introduce a bill amending the city’s new zoning code called Transform Baltimore, which is moving through the City Council after being in development for roughly five years. Mosby did not return calls seeking comment for this story.
If the deal goes through, it could mean the end for a plant whose decline escalated in 2011. At that time Pepsi Beverages Co. stopped manufacturing beverages at the plant and laid off 77 employees. That move came on the heels of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s successful push for a two-cent bottle tax increase to help cover a budget deficit.
At that time, representatives for the company said the administration’s indifferent stance toward the plight of business played as large a role as the tax hike in the decision to stop making beverages at the plant. The tax has since been raised another three cents to help fund a planned $1 billion overhaul to city schools.