Superblock Project Struggles With Historic Preservation

A proposed $150 million superblock development in Baltimore's West Side has faced numerous obstacles, including significant resistance from historic preservationists who want to see more of the historic retail district preserved.

"A plan presented yesterday to a city design panel showed a 28-story, T-shaped apartment tower, a 120-room boutique hotel with a restaurant and small- and medium-size stores in an area bounded by Lexington, Howard and Fayette streets and Park Avenue.

The developer, Lexington Square Partners, told the Urban Design and Architectural Review Panel it plans to preserve at least two buildings it considers significant. Those structures include the long-vacant Brager-Gutman's department store building at Lexington Street and Park Avenue, which would be converted to a hotel, and the former Howard Furniture building on Howard Street. Plans call for the tower, set back from Lexington Street, to house up to 360 apartments and three stories of shops along Lexington.

But developers still face opposition from preservationists, who say the developer is required by a 7-year-old agreement to save more structures in the heart of downtown's former shopping district, once home to four thriving department stores."

Full Story: West-side project meets resistance

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