Urban Landscape: McKeldin Fountain Footbridge Taken Down; Construction Starts on 1 Light Street

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Construction at 1 Light St. (photo: Ed Gunts)
Construction at 1 Light St. (photo: Ed Gunts)

Preliminary construction work has begun on Baltimore’s next downtown highrise, a 28-story tower known as 1 Light Street, planned for the southeast corner of Baltimore and Light streets.

Crews have taken down a row of retail buildings along Baltimore Street and are now preparing the north side of the property to erect a crane. The replacement building will be constructed around the historic Thomas building at Baltimore and Light streets, which is not part of the development site. Metropolitan Partnership and Madison Marquette are the developers. URS/AECOM is the lead designer, and Donohoe is the construction manager.

According to Donohoe’s website, the 525,000-square-foot building will contain 10 stories of residences, nine stories of office space, seven levels of above-ground parking, and retail space at street level. Amenities will include a fitness center, a rooftop swimming pool and a plaza.

Construction at 1 Light St. (photo: Ed Gunts)
Construction at 1 Light St. (photo: Ed Gunts)

 

Cary Euwer, of Metropolitan, was the developer who converted the former bank tower at 10 Light Street to more than 400 apartments, at a cost of $75 million . He has refused to allow local architects to arrange group tours of the building, even though the project is of strong interest and the development team sought state and federal tax credits for historic preservation. Some architects say they have toured the building themselves by pretending to be prospective renters.

Baltimore’s Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation briefly considered recommending that the interior of 10 Light Street be added to the city’s landmark list, as a way of protecting it from insensitive changes. The preservationists were alarmed that Euwer allowed a tenant to cover historic marble floors designed by Maryland muralist Hildreth Meiere, with floor coverings designed for exercising. But the panel eventually agreed not to move ahead with any designation efforts for at least a year or more.

McKeldin Fountain Footbridge Comes Down

What's left of the McKeldin Fountain footbridge (Photo: Ed Gunts)
What’s left of the McKeldin Fountain footbridge (Photo: Ed Gunts)

For the first time in 35 years, the Hyatt Regency Baltimore hotel and the McKeldin Fountain are not connected by a pedestrian footbridge.

A construction crew worked all weekend to remove one of two walkways over Light Street that linked the hotel, which opened in 1981, with the Light Street Pavilion of Harborplace, which opened in 1980. The bridge that spanned the southbound lanes of Light Street was mostly removed last weekend, and work is scheduled to resume in two weeks. Removal of the walkway that spans the northbound lanes is scheduled to begin after that.

The walkway was one of a series of pedestrian bridges around the Inner Harbor that have been removed in recent years. Removing the Light Street bridge is part of a larger plan by the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore to demolish the McKeldin Fountain at Pratt and Light streets, by Philadelphia architect Thomas Todd.

The footbridges were both connected to the fountain, and the fountain could not be demolished until they were taken down. The Partnership has indicated it wants to raze the fountain by the end of the year. Baltimore’s Planning Commission has offered to sponsor a design competition to help determine what will take the fountain’s place.

The water to the McKeldin Fountain has been turned off, the pools are empty, and the north side of the fountain has been obscured by a construction fence. Part of the brick plaza adjacent to the fountain has been turned into a work area for Bensky Construction Inc., the company taking down the bridges. A separate pedestrian bridge that connects the Light Street Pavilion of Harborplace with the Hyatt hotel garage will not be taken down.

Milk and Honey Closing in Mount Vernon

The owner of Milk and Honey Market at Cathedral and Read streets disclosed that the business will be closing permanently on July 24 and reopening next year in Station North and possibly Pigtown. “It was a hard decision, but our current space needs to undergo some construction…so it felt like the best time to make this change and focus on family and planning,” the message said in part.

Westport Planner Wants to Remain

James Corner
James Corner

One of the best parts of the $1 billion development that Patrick Turner proposed for Baltimore’s Westport waterfront was a thoughtful urban design by James Corner Field Operations of New York. The lead designer, Corner, has worked on some of the most innovative urban landscapes in the country, including New York’s High Line, Cleveland’s Public Square, Miami’s Underline, the Presidio in San Francisco, Philadelphia’s Navy Yards and Chicago’s Navy Pier. He specializes in the kind of highly complicated urban waterfront projects that Westport represents.

Corner’s Baltimore project never moved ahead because Turner ran into financial troubles and lost control of the land. The property was later purchased for $6 million by a group headed by Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, who is also planning a 266-acre development in nearby Port Covington. Plank’s team has not disclosed who will guide the design of the Westport property.

Earlier this month, Corner came to Washington, D. C. to unveil a new exhibit at the National Building Museum. Corner said he would like to continue working on the Westport project for its new owner. He said he had an interview with Plank representatives but didn’t get hired, and that he is still hopeful. If he could meet with Plank in person, he said, “I know he’d hire us.”

Dusman Retiring July 31 at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church

The Rev. Dale Dusman, pastor of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Station North for more than 30 years, will retire on July 31. The congregation will celebrate his years of service during the Sunday worship service. Pastors Tom Davison and Lee Hudson will serve with Father Henry Hammond as interim co-pastors until a permanent replacement is named.

Ed Gunts

Ed Gunts

Ed Gunts is a local freelance writer and the former architecture critic for The Baltimore Sun.
Ed Gunts


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2 COMMENTS

  1. Excellent coverage of new construction, razing of footbridge and McKeldin Fountain, and Westport updates. Good research on background of developers and historic concerns. With the Baltimore Sun skimping of this coverage, Baltimore Fishbowl readers are lucky to have the objective thorough reporting of Ed Gunts.

    • I second that; Ed is a class act all the way. Worked with him years ago when he worked at the dailies.

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