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BALTIMORE-This week, the Baltimore City Board of Estimates has taken action to pave the way for the construction of The Zenith, a 191-unit luxury mixed-use apartment property that will play a part in the city’s Westside redevelopment initiative in Downtown Baltimore. The Board signed off on a new development partnership that puts funding in place for the estimated $37 million project.

Union-supported equity real estate fund Multi-Employer Property Trust has come to the table with $35 million, joining the original development team LH Zenith LLC, which was spearheaded by Legacy Harrison Development. The new relationship is expected to be finalized within days, Baltimore Development Corp. project analysis director Irene Van Sant tells GlobeSt.com.

The Zenith will bring upscale residences to the sorely neglected Westside are of Downtown. Its site–not far from Oriole Park at Camden Yards–is a half-acre parking lot that LH Zenith acquired from Baltimore for the bargain basement price of $750,000 last year, after the city awarded the entity development rights following an RFP competition. Construction is expected to get under way this fall, and will ultimately yield a 23-story high-rise residential property with 5,000 sf of street-level retail space, and a parking facility to accommodate approximately 250 vehicles.

The apartment building will join other recent developments intended to revitalize the area, including the redeveloped 2,300-seat performing arts venue the Hippodrome Theatre, and the Centerpoint 400-unit mixed-use residential project. “It is going to be a 24/7 downtown area in an older part of Baltimore,” Van Sant adds. “It is coming back with retail, restaurants, small office buildings and other amenities.” The Zenith is on target for a fall 2006 completion.

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