UPDATE APRIL 2014: In a massive victory for the State Center redevelopment project, Maryland's highest court unanimously rejected a lawsuit that had delayed the project for several years. The Court’s decision removed the project’s most obvious obstacle, and the lead developer, Caroline Moore, has publicly stated her desire to move forward quickly.
The State Center redevelopment project (statecenter.org) is a proposed public-private partnership that would revitalize the decades-old state office complex immediately southeast of Bolton Hill. Bounded roughly by Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., Howard St., Madison Ave. and Hoffman St., State Center’s location is ideal for building a modern transit-oriented community. State Center sits atop a Metro station, is adjacent to a light rail stop, and is within a short walk of Penn Station’s MARC hub. It is also situated next to Mount Vernon cultural attractions like the Lyric and Myerhoff and neighborhoods like Bolton Hill. The redevelopment proposal envisions a mix of state offices, sustainable residences, street-level retail, and restaurants to create a vibrant community in which to live, work, and play.
The state originally conceived the State Center project in 2004. It selected a developer in 2006, approved the conceptual plan in 2008, entered a development agreement in 2009, and approved an amended agreement in 2010. The project has the strong support of the State Center Neighborhood Alliance, a group led by MRIA President John Kyle and composed of representatives of surrounding neighborhoods, local clergy, and other nearby institutions. However, the lawsuit – filed in December 2010 – stalled the project and alleged that the state and private developer did not follow required state procurement rules. In January 2013, the Baltimore City trial court ruled that the lawsuit could move forward on some claims.
In March 2014, the Court of Appeals reversed the lower court’s decision and ordered that the lawsuit against the project be dismissed. Specifically, the Court ruled that there was an “unreasonable and unjustified” delay in not filing the lawsuit until December 2010 when certain claims should have been filed during the initial phases of the project several years earlier.
The Court’s opinion also recognized what Bolton Hill neighbors have recognized for years – that State Center currently “consists of five Soviet-block style buildings [and] it is agreed widely that these buildings are long past their useful lives.” MRIA President John Kyle is hopeful that the project resumes quickly and noted that “a vibrant, 24/7 State Center community will provide significant benefits to Bolton Hill residents.”
STATE CENTER INFO: For additional information from the State Center Development team: visit www.statecenter.org.
STATE CENTER NEIGHBORHOOD ALLIANCE: In 2010, MRIA joined 11 other community groups and 3 anchor institutions in founding the State Center Neighborhood Alliance (SCNA) to advocate for the neighbors of State Center throughout the development process and its implementation. In cooperation with other interest groups in the neighborhood, one tangible result so far is an agreement focused on enhanced employment opportunities for neighborhood residents. Work continues on a community benefits agreement. For more information, contact scneighborhoodalliance[at]gmail.com.
MRIA INFO: To re-familiarize yourself with MRIA's actions on this
topic so that you can see how the Development Team is responding (or
not), please review this message and attachments that I sent out on
June 18, 2008:
The proposed State Center Re-development project continues to move
forward through various City and State approval processes which may
take several more months or so. It is an effort that will have long
lasting impact on Bolton Hill. An MRIA committee worked hard this
spring to bring the Bolton Hill neighborhood up to speed on what the
opportunities and pitfalls might be. MRIA sponsored two community
meetings -- April 12 and May 31.
Through this work, two documents were developed: Guiding Design
Principles and 10 Project Enhancements. They were discussed by the
MRIA Board on June 3, 2008, and then were endorsed by unanimous vote
of the Board.
The MRIA Board also agreed to continue monitoring the progress of the
project. For further information about MRIA's work on this effort or
to be considered for participation in MRIA's efforts, contact John
Kyle at email@example.com.