Sagamore Rolls Out Plans for Cromwell Street Redevelopment in Port Covington

| April 15, 2016 | 5 Comments

Sagamore Development continues to roll out more details about its 266-acre Port Covington Master Plan and yesterday the team of Sagamore, Elkus Manfredi Architects, and STV went into more specifics on the planned redevelopment of Cromwell St. and an area called East Waterfront at Baltimore City Planning Department’s Urban Design & Architecture Review Panel (UDARP). Cromwell St. begins at Hanover St. running east and eventually bends north until it connects with E. McComas St. Below Cromwell St. to the south is the site of Locke Insulators, which Sagamore doesn’t own, as well as the Under Armour Campus at the former Port Covington Shopping Center, Sagamore Spirit, and the planned East Waterfront Park.

Sagamore plans to relocate The Baltimore Sun printing facility’s parking lots that face Cromwell St. so it can begin redevelopment. Between Hanover St. and W. Peninsula Dr., adjacent to Locke Insulators, Sagamore has larger footprints to work with and is hoping for ground-floor makerspaces, but noted that retail could be a use for these spaces in the future. The zoned building height cap is 135 feet.

Between W. Peninsula Dr. and the bend in Cromwell St., Sagamore has plans for a park space called Urban Plaza. This will be a gathering area where many roads and paths from the Port Covington Master Plan converge. Urban Plaza will be three acres in size and Sagamore noted that future uses could include an ice rink or the site of a large Christmas tree. Just south of Urban Plaza will be a man-made lake at the northern point of Under Armour’s campus. UDARP panelists had concerns about the alignment of this park.

Sagamore also has plans for a retail and mixed-use district called East Waterfront where Cromwell St. moves northeast after the bend. Directly behind Sagamore Spirit to the north will be a cluster of European-style, pedestrian-only blocks with smaller retail foot prints of 1,000 to 1,500 sq. ft. Several hotels could also go in East Watefront, including a potential high-rise on an existing pier at the Tidewater Yacht Service Club.

All north-south streets in East Waterfront will have direct sight lines to the water, and bike lanes and pedestrian access will be a focal point throughout the area, as well as throughout entire Port Covington development. On-street parking, as well as grade- and below-grade parking garages, are planned for the district. Most buildings in East Waterfront will have a height of 30 ft. to 60 ft.

Sagamore Spirit is already under construction in East Waterfront and is expected to open this year. The rye whiskey distillery will feature four buildings including a restaurant and a water tower. Work on East Waterfront Park is expected to begin this year. The park will include a ribbon path, archaeological pier, eco peninsula, boardwalk, piers, and water taxi stop.

Along with East Waterfront and Cromwell St., Sagamore released plans for West End, a district west of Hanover St. The development team will next present plans for the final district of Port Covington, Founder’s Park. This area sits between, Hanover St., Cromwell St., and E. McComas St. and currently includes The Baltimore Sun facility. Under Armour also recently revealed its Master Plan for a 50-acre campus and world headquarters. The first building has already opened. It is expected that Under Armour will fully build out the campus over the next 15 to 20 years.

Sagamore is proposing $534,795,000 in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) from Baltimore City to finance public infrastructure including roads, bridges, utilities, sewers, waterlines, shoreline remediation, walkways, and parks. Projects include nearly 50 new city blocks, many with bike infrastructure; a waterfront promenade; more than 40 acres of parks along the water, underneath I-95, and throughout the area; walking bridges connecting the Westport and South Baltimore neighborhoods to Port Covington; new and rebuilt piers; shoreline remediation; and, ecological improvements.

A TIF is a bond issued to Baltimore City or any other jurisdiction that is leveraged and backed by a real estate development. TIFs use the increased property tax revenues at the development to pay off the bonds.

The TIF proposal was approved by the Baltimore Development Corporation and will next be reviewed by the Mayor’s Office and Baltimore City Council.

Sagamore is also hoping to use these bonds to seek matching funds from state and federal sources in the amount of $573,683,000. Projects that the state and federal government funds would contribute to would likely involve highways and mass transportation. Sagamore’s proposals include new exits off I-295 and I-395 along the northern section of the Middle Branch that lead to Port Covington; the redevelopment of Hanover St., which includes bringing the road back down to grade and increasing the road’s exit capacities to I-95; a light rail spur from Westport with two new stops; three new water taxi stops; and, improvements to the intersection of Key Hwy. and McComas St.

Sagamore noted it is now actively in discussion with the Maryland Transportation Administration (MTA), the Maryland and Baltimore Departments of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, and Baltimore Water Taxi about these improvements.

Renderings Courtesy of Sagamore Development

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