The Johns Hopkins University on Thursday bought 1.13
acres in the 3200 block of St. Paul
Street in Baltimore, calling the parcel a strategic
acquisition for future development that will
advance the interests of both the university and its
Charles Village neighbors.
The university purchased the land for $12.5 million
from CJUF Charles Village LLC, a joint
venture of Canyon Johnson Urban Fund II and Struever Bros.
Eccles & Rouse. The joint venture had
intended to develop a mixed-use project called the Olmsted
on the site.
The location — on the southeast corner of St.
Paul and 33rd streets — is important to both
Johns Hopkins and its neighbors, said James T. McGill,
senior vice president for finance and
administration at the university. The property is a block
east of the university's Homewood campus,
across 33rd Street from its Charles Commons mixed-use
student residence hall and at the north end
of the St. Paul Street commercial corridor
Though the university will not build on the land
immediately, Johns Hopkins' leadership felt it
was important to buy it when it was available and ensure
that the eventual development of the site
serves the interests of both town and gown, McGill said.
"This is a strategic purchase," McGill said. "We want
to make sure that, when the time is right,
we are in a position to develop a project that accomplishes
what we all want: enhancing the vitality
and livability of a great Baltimore neighborhood."
Though no specific long-term university use for the
site has been identified yet, McGill said,
Johns Hopkins is committed to the community's vision that
there should be a street-level retail
component to whatever is built. He said the university
agrees with the Charles Village community's
and the city's desire that off-street parking should also
be a part of the project.
The timeline for development depends, among other
things, on the recovery of the U.S.
economy and on the results of the university's planning
process, which could take a few years. The
university said it also intends to continue the extensive
community consultation process that —
beginning in 2003 — characterized the design and
development of the university's Charles Commons
project and CJUF LLC's Village Lofts condominium
development. Those two projects share the
intersection of St. Paul and 33rd with the property bought
by the university today.
The university said that, in the short term, it
intends to address the community's, the city's
and the university's needs by building surface parking on
the site. The paid parking lot will be open to
the public. Details, including the lot's design,
construction and management, are under development.