When Mark Ordan proposed building a project at 110 Compromise Street, the former Fawcett’s property, there were a few renderings distributed to present a concept. Seemingly opposed to any new “concepts,” a group was formed to oppose the project; and Ordan and his investment group walked away from the project. The Mayor is trying to resurrect the project, but even if the zoning passes, there will be a lot of work to get the investment group back to the table.
The top 4 myths
Many myths surrounding this project have been put forward by Save Annapolis which is leading the opposition and they need to be clarified.
Myth 1: The City is giving up valuable waterfront property. The fact is that the City owns the Donner parking lot and will retain that lot as the project is currently planned. The lot that is given up is a landlocked lot without water access. See the map below for the outlines of all the parcels in question.
View 110 Compromise in a larger map
Myth 2: The City will be giving up valuable parking spaces. The fact is that City loses 27 spots (Newman St. lot), but gains 75 spaces under the plan. A net gain of 48 spaces.
Myth 3: 4 million people enjoy Annapolis the way it is. Former Mayor Moyer has been using this figure in all of the videos produced by Save Annapolis and in letters written to the various media outlets. The Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Conference and Visitors’ Bureau has stated that in 2011, there were 5.6 million visitors to the County. 1.5 million visited the United States Naval Academy. With Arundel Mills being the largest tourist draw in the county, the former Mayor’s math simply does not compute.
When questioned on the numbers, Save Annapolis provided this response from Moyer:
Long time ago calculation by city that added USNA,state House before changes, Visitor center, tour buses and festivals sports events, average weekend visitor estimates, arrivals at airport…% of., conference, hotel and BB records. Visitor center may use higher numbers now. Lower if only use USNA, visitor center records and state house( no longer recorded)
Myth 4: Annapolitans want the City to stop and re-do the process. Save Annapolis purports to have the backing of several organizations including the Annapolis Business Association and the Ward One Residents Association. However they do not have the complete backing of the Annapolis business community nor the residents of Ward One. We have spoken with several businesses (including some that are leased from a Save Annapolis proponent) who are very supportive of the City Dock plan and the re-zoning of the Fawcett’s property. Similarly, there are many residents in Ward One who also support the initiatives–some testified at the meeting on July 25th. The decisions to support and join Save Annapolis were made by a small faction of Board members of each of those organizations. The general membership or the ABA and WORA was never questioned or asked for their opinions. While the coalition likely has a solid core, it is unlikely that they represent the voice of the City’s residents.
What could have been
Mind you, the drawings that follow are renderings and before any blueprints are produced, there would be a lot of negotiations on the scale, scope, and appearance. Another thing to keep in mind is that many current supporters of Save Annapolis sat on the City Dock Advisory Commission (CDAC) and were responsible for developing the plan that they are now opposing. Furthermore, Ordan and the investors commissioned these renderings based on the plan that the CDAC developed–he did not come up with this on his own. And finally, remember that these are investors — not developers. They are neighbors with some living in the City limits, others living just outside. They are not from Bentonville, AR looking to put in a Walmart (another myth put forth by Save Annapolis at one time). The $20 million they planned to invest was not corporate money, but personal money. And the reason behind the project was that they (like most who live, work or visit Annapolis) were tired of seeing City Dock continue the recent deterioration.
Undoubtedly this is a polarizing issue for the City and will take its toll at the voting booth one way or the other. There are likely numerous hidden agendas being pushed forward. Former Mayor Moyer is still stinging when Mayor Cohen stated that she left a “financial train wreck” when she left office. The Fleet Reserve Club is probably upset that their view (and free use of City property for their dumpster) will be blocked. And one has to wonder why Ed Hartman is so emphatically opposed to this that he essentially is funding the entire opposition? He claims to have offered $4 million for the 110 Compromise property, yet the owners say it was no where close to that number. Does Hartman want the property zoned as is to become the HQ for US Boat Shows and Watermark? If so, he no longer would need to lease dock space from the City for the Harbor Queen, their floating office, water taxis, and the other tour boats. Or does the redevelopment of City Dock and the sale of 110 Compromise Street to a different entity reduce the value of the boat show if it is sold?
So, what could have been you ask? Here, have a look at the rest of the renderings and preliminary plans that many chose not to view. Ordan and his group did their homework. They looked at existing architecture in the City, existing materials, views, and more.
If this project were to go through, the end result likely wold not look identical to these drawings. Building anywhere involves compromise and adjustments. Building within Annapolis requires a lot more. If we want to see a re-developed 110 Compromise Street, both the City and the investors will need to give a little in order to take a little.
What are your thoughts now that you have seen the full set of drawings? Do you think this (or something similar) would help or hurt the City Dock area? What suggestions do you have to offer? I ask you, because it seems there have been none from the opposition.
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