New piece of east side opens

Baltimore Sun - - SPORTS - By Natalie Sher­man nsh­er­man@balt­

Of­fi­cials gath­ered Mon­day to cel­e­brate the open­ing of the next of­fice build­ing at the East Bal­ti­more biopark near Johns Hop­kins Hospi­tal, hail­ing it as a sign of grow­ing mo­men­tum in a larger re­de­vel­op­ment that has been in the works for more than15 years.

The roughly $65 mil­lion project at 1812 Ash­land Ave. is part of a master plan be­ing over­seen by East Bal­ti­more De­vel­op­ment Inc., a non­profit es­tab­lished by the city and state, as well as pri­vate stake­hold­ers, to guide re­de­vel­op­ment of 88 acres close to the Hop­kins cam­pus.

Though slow to start, re­de­vel­op­ment in the EBDI foot­print has started to ramp up, with work un­der­way on res­i­dences, a park and ho­tel. Con­struc­tion of the roughly 163,000-square-foot of­fice and lab build­ing, where the Johns Hop­kins Uni­ver­sity and Johns Hop­kins Hospi­tal sys­tem af­fil­i­ates are the pri­mary ten­ants, started last year.

“We’re de­liv­er­ing on the prom­ises in East Bal­ti­more,” said Scott Le­vi­tan, a se­nior vice pres­i­dent at For­est City New East Bal­ti­more Part­ner­ship, the master de­vel­oper for the site. “In just six months, you’ll see a dra­matic change.”

Noise from nearby con­struc­tion sites oc­ca­sion­ally drowned out speak­ers at Mon­day’s ded­i­ca­tion, who al­luded to the fights over the pace of the project, dif­fi­cul­ties se­cur­ing fi­nanc­ing and con­cerns about dis­place­ment of an African-Amer­i­can neigh­bor­hood for one of the city’s wealth­i­est and most pres­ti­gious in­sti­tu­tions.

About 740 fam­i­lies in the area were re­lo­cated to make way for the re­de­vel­op­ment.

“A lot of smiles up here and there should be … but get­ting things done with this group is a lot like sausage-mak­ing,” said Thur­man W. Zol­li­cof­fer Jr., who chairs the EBDI board.

The 1812 Ash­land Ave. build­ing was fi­nanced with about $33 mil­lion in fed­eral new-mar­kets tax cred­its, Le­vi­tan said. The state also con­trib­uted a $5 mil­lion low­in­ter­est loan and a $5 mil­lion grant for in­fra­struc­ture as­so­ci­ated with the project, he said.

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