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BALTIMORE-It has been a long time in coming, but it looks like construction of the Ritz-Carlton Residences-Inner Harbor Baltimore is on the brink of getting under way. The city has made plans to celebrate the beginning of the $155-million project’s development with a special ceremony tonight, followed by the first phase of demolition to make way for the new upscale condominium endeavor. Removal of the last remaining building of the former Bethlehem Steel Corp. will be the last task to complete before breaking ground on the new 165-unit residential property.

The privately funded project, under development by Giannasca Development Cos. LLC, had been delayed on a few occasions over the last three years due to issues such as a change in development plans and land ownership conflicts.

The building that is slated to be torn down is the 45-year-old Bethlehem Steel Warehouse, also referred to as the Propeller Yard Building. Located at 801 Key Hwy. Downtown, the 73,500-sf relic occupies the 5.6-acre parcel where the Ritz-Carlton Residences will sprout up around mid-2006. In addition to the luxury residences, the condominium property will ultimately feature an upscale restaurant, café, gourmet market and a spa. And for the residents’ entertainment, there will be a private movie theater and a billiards room. The Ritz Carlton Hotel Co. will manage the property; marking the first time the hotel company is managing a site that does not include one of its Ritz hotels.

The Ritz-Carlton Residences development is a welcome site, not just for those seeking high-end condominium options, but also for the city itself. “The project will include over $12 million in public improvements to Baltimore’s waterfront and result in a wonderful promenade around the property,” Rick Abbruzzese, deputy press secretary for Mayor Martin O’Malley, tells GlobeSt.com. “The project will put over 1,600 people to work during the construction phase, and bring an estimated $9 million in revenue back to our city and state each year.”

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