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Baltimore architecture panel rejects Metro West garage schematics

A massive proposed garage at the Metro West redevelopment project on Baltimore’s Westside failed to impress the city’s architecture review panel.

The Urban Design and Architecture Review Panel reviewed schematics Thursday for the 2,200-spot, 10-story garage that also includes 1,400 square feet of retail on but declined to give the development team the go-ahead.

“We’ll go back to the drawing board,” said Larry Boltansky of GreenSpring Ventures LLC, which has joined Caves Valley Partners in a joint venture to overhaul the 1.1 million-square-foot Metro West complex.

Members of the panel expressed concerns about the building’s design, how it plays at street level and even entrance and exits of the garage.

“The problem with this garage is that it’s bulky,” panelist Rich Burns said. “It’s a big block.”

The garage is proposed on what is currently a surface lot bordered by Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Mulberry and Saratoga streets. Boltansky said the garage is a necessary step in the redevelopment of the office complex.

“It’s all part of the plan to develop the building,” he said.

Developers are currently in discussion with potential tenants for the building that once was home to the Social Security Administration. Boltansky declined to identify potential tenants and indicated government agencies remain a possibility.

Caves Valley Partners was awarded the property early last years after it was submitted a high bid of $7.1 million for the complex to U.S. General Services Administration. At that time, Arthur Adler of Caves Valley Partners said there were no immediate plans for the redevelopment.

In recent months, Mayor Catherine Pugh said she has had conversations with Caves Valley about the potential for moving workers at the outdated State Center to Metro West.

In an email last month, Adler said team would “welcome the opportunity to collaborate with (Gov. Larry Hogan) and the Mayor to find the desired outcome if they decide Metro West can be part of the solution.”

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