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.
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.
he Trust for the National Mall has selected the winning entry for each of the 3 sites to be transformed at the National Mall. The entries aim to connect monuments visually and offer more in the way of entertainment and scenery to the public, all while maintaining a proper amount of security. The areas have grown decrepit after 40 years of use and lacking proper maintenance. Four finalists for each location were displayed for public comment on April 9 after an initial 58 entries.
Rogers Marvel Architects and PWP Landscape Architecture will redesign Constitution Gardens east of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The design is based on a 1976 plan for the site for the bicentennial. A pavilion/restaurant will overlook the lake, while a seating wall with pedestrian lighting will frame the Ellipse, which will be subtly raised to be more prominent. Performances, model boating, and ice skating are other activities residents and visitors can look forward to.
OLIN & Weiss/Manfredi will redesign the Sylvan Theater, southeast of the Washington Monument. The performance space is a large grassy bowl whose outer edge rises 32 feet, just before reaching the base of the monument, which serves as a backdrop to the events taking place. A bridge under a tree canopy will connect the space with the southern grounds of the Washington Monument.
Gustafson Guthrie Nichol and Davis Brody Bond will redesign Union Square near the Capitol. Symbolic of the reflecting pool at Lincoln Memorial, a large reflecting pool will take the place of the nearest grass panel on the Mall, but with the potential for much more interaction. Diagonal pathways will cross the 2-inch sheet of water, which can be drained for special events from time to time on the paving below. A series of outdoor rooms and retaining walls will flank the central space.
Groundbreaking for at least one of the projects should begin by 2014, with the first ribbon-cutting expected in 2016. Fundraising will now take place for the $700M project.
Read more and view a gallery of other proposed designs for the mall at The Washington Post here.
n Sunday, May 6, an opening ceremony will be held at the new Pierce’s Park at Pier 5, between the Columbus Center and Eastern Avenue. The park is named after the late Pierce J. Flanigan III of Baltimore construction company P. Flanigan and Sons and his love for sailing and the Chesapeake Bay. Mahan Rykiel Associates designed the park, with local artist David Hess creating the interactive sculptures throughout the park.
The design of the park centers on two circular open/play spaces surrounded by berms, separated by undulations in the ground that mimic waves. Engraved homophones, a musical fence, climbable sculptures and a living willow tunnel help make the park an exciting playground for kids, with natural beauty to boot.
To learn more about Pierce’s Park, visit their website here.
ince 2004, the Mechanic Theatre has sat dormant in the heart of downtown Baltimore. Now, David S. Brown Enterprises is seeking a permit for the theatre’s demolition. With the help of architects Shalom Baranes Associates, they’re hoping to build two 30-story towers to include 600 market-rate apartments and 150,000 sq ft of retail. Construction could begin in as early as six months, pending approval of the permit by the Baltimore City Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation.
The group had previously planned one hotel tower back in 2009, which could be what the above (top) rendering shows. In that plan, much of the infrastructure of the theatre was kept intact. No word on whether that will remain the case with the new design. The Mechanic Theatre opened in 1967 but after a few decades could no longer meet the production needs of major shows. Its demise coincided with the restoration of the Hippodrome Theatre.
Read more at the Baltimore Business Journal here.
he Montgomery County Planning Board will review a proposal Thursday for the vacant lot at 8300 Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda. StonebridgeCarras and Walton Street Capital, who both purchased the property one year ago, are looking to build a 360-unit luxury apartment complex as well as a grocery store.
This is the second proposal for the site, the first of which would have included a 2,000 sq ft arts incubator which many in the community were sad to see not included in the new design. But the Planning Board staff have recommended approval of the new project, on the conditions that the new design achieve LEED certification, onsite recreational facilities, and at least 12.5 percent of its dwelling units to be moderately priced.
Read more at The Gazette here.
hen was the last time you stepped into a local pharmacy? By local I don’t just mean the closest. I’m talking about a home grown, community-oriented, “mom and pop” pharmacy. Today they’re few and far between, with “mega pharmacies” like CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens opening in more locations all the time. But in a similar vein to our January post on Baltimore’s growing market for smaller, more accessible restaurant/dry goods stores, city residents would also embrace a pharmacy that caters to the community instead of a national brand it operates under.
In addition to sprouting new locations on a regular basis, these national brands are buying up the little guys simultaneously. Two of JBL Real Estate’s listings, 801 W 36th Street in Hampden and 8500 Harford Road in Parkville, were previous locations for locally-owned Burke’s Pharmacy, recently acquired by Rite Aid.
Urban retail is lacking the true local pharmacy, where service is unmistakably better and the person behind the counter isn’t a gum-chewing, ipod-listening college student with an attitude. And having your pharmacy nestled nearby among your other local stops is what living in the city is all about.
Big-name pharmacies have their place in modern-day America (try any major thoroughfare). But maybe we’d rather go to a pharmacy…some other place.
or some, a 75-minute commute to work and back sounds like a scenario to avoid at all costs, even to the possible detriment of their careers. For others, it’s just another Monday. Google Maps clocks the route between the heart of each city at just over an hour. But you can double that should there be an accident, bad weather, construction, or just plain old rush hour.
Today’s gas prices alone might deter one from driving themselves an hour or more for their job. Then again, Baltimore residents may save enough with cheaper housing over DC housing to make up for the loss. You’ll find more in that crowd than those that travel from DC to Baltimore for work (of which I am one).
There’s also the option of public transportation for those who’d like to read, sleep, or work on the go, or just happen to be more “green”-minded. The MARC Train is the most popular service…not as fast as Amtrak but cheaper.
Whatever your commute, whatever the distance, hopefully we all make the best of it. Happy traveling.
t has to be a curious process: determining the market value of a historic landmark. Assuming Baltimore’s Board of Estimates approves the contract today, that’s just what the Department of General Services will pay appraisal firm Westholm & Associates to do. For $46,500, the Annapolis-based company will analyze 15 city landmarks deemed “underutilized” by City Hall.
The city is hoping that leasing or selling the buildings will earn them revenue they’re not seeing now, with offices as a potential use for developers. Preservationists are of course worried that such transactions could jeopardize the state and status of such landmarks. But the city hopes that historic tax credits would encourage developers to protect the sites that now sit vacant, uncared for, and in some cases even vandalized.
Sites include (click to enlarge):
Thomas Stosur, Baltimore’s director of planning, previously stated, “I don’t know that every single one of them is officially a designated landmark.” Determining such bears much importance on the matter, as only those that are would be protected under laws governing historic properties. It was announced today that 12 of the 15 are in fact protected by historic landmark designation.
Whatever the turnout, a result that sees these landmarks put to better use for their communities, while also ensuring their continued protection, has my vote.