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BALTIMORE-Plans for a 750-room Baltimore Convention Center Hotel have moved forward with the Baltimore Development Corp.’s selection of project team RLJ Development LLC/Quadrangle Development Corp. to erect the $200-million facility.

Late last month, BDC officials narrowed the list of three finalists–RLJ/Quadrangle, Otis Warren & Co./Garfield Traub Development LLC, and Treyball Development Inc./Portman Holdings–down to one, and passed project approval on to the next phase. The news comes almost exactly a year after Quadrangle joined forces with RLJ–which is spearheaded by Black Entertainment Television founder Roberty L. Johnson–to put together an unsolicited bid to the City of Baltimore to develop the property known as Parcels 6A and 7A.

What RLJ/Quadrangle has in mind for the property–a two-block parcel west of the Convention Center and north of Oriole Park at Camden Yards–is a Hilton hotel facility sporting 75,000 sf of meeting space and a parking garage to accommodate up to 1,000 vehicles. The hotel and the convention center will be physically joined by a skywalk of sorts, or pedestrian walkway. In issuing its Request for Proposal on the property’s development, the BDC called for the inclusion of a global headquarters building for Catholic Relief Services. RLJ/Quadrangle’s plan includes a 200,000-sf office structure to accommodate the international assistance organization, which is planning to relocate from its current home on Fayette Street.

“We believe that this team’s combination of the most appropriate site location, the imaginative urban design and architectural concept, the developer’s experience and expertise and its commitment to minority involvement make it best able to meet the city’s goals and high aspirations for this important project,” note BDC chairman president MJ Brodie and chairman Arnold Williams.

Indeed, the city could use the hotel space. According to Marcus & Millichap’s September 2003 Hospitality Research Report, “overall convention activity is rebounding.” For the city, that fact is confirmed by recent news that the National Baptist Convention USA Inc.’s Congress of Christian Education will hold a massive gathering at the convention center in 2006. Attendees will take up about 25,000 hotel rooms, and there are currently only 6,000 in the Downtown area.

The mayor’s thumbs-up is now required for the endeavor to move forward, but there may be a few hiccups. Former competing entity Otis Warren/Garfield has made a plea to the mayor to reconsider its plan, despite the BDC’s recommendation to go with RLJ/Quadrangle.

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