altimore took a blow this past Friday when Patrick “Scunny” McCusker, one of Canton’s most beloved restauranteurs, passed away after his bicycle collided with a bus in Ocean City. McCusker was best known as the owner of Nacho Mama’s and its sister restaurant Mama’s on the Half Shell, both located on O’Donnell Street in Canton Square. He was 49.
I’ve known Scunny for over a decade. No matter how busy he was in the restaurant, he always had time to come by and hassle me about my affinity for the Redskins. He was like this with everyone. I grew up being taught it was good to be a character, and Scunny was definitely a larger than life character. I used to see him ride around in his Natty Boh car with his son. And he combined his love of Elvis with his love for Baltimore sports when he wore a purple Elvis costume to the Super Bowl when the Ravens beat the Giants.
My funniest memory of Scunny, though, is a sign he hung at Nacho Mama’s in the early days, which noted the remarks of friend Neil Tabor (I believe) who helped convince Scunny to open the restaurant: “It takes a Jewish guy to convince an Irishman to open a Mexican restaurant in a Polish neighborhood.”
He was much more than just a restaurant owner in Baltimore. Some have even called him the unofficial mayor of Canton. He was a real friend to the community, and a true philanthropist, whether it was taking pizzas to a local senior center once a month, or his involvement with Believe in Tomorrow Children’s Foundation, a Baltimore-based nonprofit that provides hospital and housing services to critically ill children and their families. Scunny, you will be missed.
owntown Salisbury can expect a new mixed-use development at the site of the former Feldman’s Building in early 2013. The property, recently acquired by River View Commons, LLC, will have open sight lines to the river front and on-site parking. Four different buildings comprise the 40,000 square foot structure, the most notably being a main 3-story building dating back to the 1800s and first used by wholesale grocers.
Demolition will begin in the Fall of 2012 with renovations occurring thereafter. The new owners have named the project River View Commons, and are looking to create office, retail and restaurant space. They also hope for city approval to construct a riverwalk along the Wicomico River and Mill Street.
development to accommodate housing for College Park students is meeting continued criticism for its proposed location. The project, developed by R&J Company LLC of New York, would sit on the corner of Route 1 and College Ave, where the Maryland Book Exchange currently stands. The site borders College Park’s historic district, and is currently zoned as residential.
A document published in 2009, the Route 1 Sector Plan, was meant to guide development along the Route 1 corridor, which has already seen new student housing construction in the last few years. Officials of College Park argue that the new proposal doesn’t conform to the document, and in January the City Council voted to oppose the development. The developers contend that, despite the zoning, the development’s surroundings (including a church and sorority houses) are compatible with the project.
If ultimately approved, the facility would stand 6 stories high, tapering back to 4 stories on the Yale Ave side. It would offer 313 residential units and 14,500 square feet of new retail space.
arly May, a proposal was submitted by the Fifth District Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee to the Maryland Department of Transportation seeking funding to establish bike lanes and post signs on a loop around downtown Towson. This past Thursday, the department received a letter of support for the project, called the “Bike Beltway”, from Maravene Loeschke, president of Towson University.
Loeschke wrote, “…I believe this proposal is a tremendous opportunity to more fully engage the university community with the greater Towson area…The Towson Bike Beltway will also improve access for the Towson community.”
Fifth District County Councilman David Marks established the advisory committee that submitted the application for the grant. A decision on who receives the grant should be made later this summer.
fficials at the Maryland Institute College of Art will break ground this fall on Commons II, a $16.5 million addition that will allow more undergraduates to live on campus. The five-story building will include 62 apartments and accommodate 240 students. It will be an extension of The Commons, which opened on McMechen Street in 1992 with 99 apartments housing 350 freshman. The site is currently a parking lot on North Avenue west of Mount Royal Avenue.
Commons II, designed by Hord Coplan Macht, will also include a performance space, lecture hall and artist studios. Its design attempts to reflect its role as a connector between Bolton Hill and the Station North Arts District. In addition, MICA is planning a $2 million renovation of the existing Commons by late 2013. Ayers Saint Gross will add a laundry center, cafe lounge, mailboxes, a connection to Commons II, and possibly an exhibition space.
When Commons II opens (scheduled for fall of 2013), MICA will have on-campus housing for more than 1,000 students.
Read more at The Baltimore Sun here.
onstruction on “Sentinel Square” in DC’s NoMa (north of Massachusetts Ave) is now at the midpoint of construction according to Tom Finan, managing director at Trammell Crow, the developers behind the project. The current phase, Phase Two, is located at 1050 First St and will offer 280,000 square feet of office space on twelve stories. Phase One (above), located at 90 K Street NE and delivered in June 2010, is a similar but larger 12-story office tower with a LEED Gold certification. Phase Three remains in pre-planning stages.
Whether or not the ground floor of the new building will offer retail space is up in the air while developers continue to analyze the changing market. The project was designed by Smith Group/JJR.
Read more at DCMud here.
esterday, furniture superstore IKEA powered on its solar panels atop its Potomac Mills store (not pictured above). The retailer’s Woodbridge location now boasts Virginia’s largest photovoltaic array. In all, 2,100 panels take up 63,000 square feet, producing the equivalent of enough electricity to power 55 homes annually. The system was designed and installed by Gehrlicher Solar America Corp.
IKEA, the world’s largest furniture retailer, now has solar systems installed on 21 of its 44 U.S. locations. Its College Park and Baltimore locations already have solar installations.