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BALTIMORE, MD-The city of Baltimore has been presented with an offer it can hardly resist, as three organizations partner up in a joint proposal that will bring a 750-room Hilton hotel and a 200,000-sf headquarters building to a parcel just a stone’s throw from the Baltimore Convention Center. RLJ Development and Quadrangle Development are behind the hotel project, while Catholic Relief Services is spearheading the building of a new headquarters for the organization. Both new structures will occupy the city-owned, four-acre parcel.

A hotel to accommodate visitors to the Convention Center has been in the works by one developer or another for more than five years. CRS, on the other hand, had decided to relocate from the area in an effort to move beyond the space it has outgrown at 209 West Fayette St. But good timing and luck appear to have brought the two endeavors together.

“This is a joint proposal in that CRS and Quadrangle/RLJ are going in together on the proposal, but after that we’ll be moving forward separately,” CRS’s Jennifer Lindsey explains to GlobeSt.com. “We’d been looking for a location in Baltimore for three years that would be appropriate for our needs in terms of space. Also, 60% of our staff commutes, so we wanted to be near sufficient public transportation.” Part of the proposal includes a garage, as well as a possible high-speed train station. The location is already easily accessible by existing forms of public transportation.

Realization of the new headquarters and the hotel is, at minimum, a few years away yet. Reported cost estimates for constructing the hotel are as high as $250 million, but both projects are in the very beginning stages of development.

“It’s just too early to make an estimate,” Lindsey says. “We’re still in the process of choosing an architect.” And while news of this joint endeavor came as a welcome surprise to many local government officials, the requisite planning and developing hurdles must still be conquered. Because the property in question is city-owned, Baltimore officials must call for the submission of other development proposals for the land. If the Quadrangle-RLJ-CRS team moves beyond that obstacle, the matter of financing will become the next primary issue.

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