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Mayor Cohen Speaks Out On 110 Compromise And Save Annapolis

| July 02, 2013, 12:23 PM | 4 Comments

21346_173911652783356_219384703_nAnnapolis Mayor Josh Cohen just released the following statement regarding developer’s the decision to pull out of the 110 Compromise Street development project.

City Dock is the crown jewel of Annapolis.  Annapolitans cherish its authentic colonial scale, openness to the water and historic charm.  For more than two years, a community-led process has been developing a vision and plan to make City Dock more vibrant and walkable while preserving the qualities that make the area so special.

One of the key areas the community has identified for improvement is 110 Compromise Street, known as the former Fawcett building.  The fact that it is private property has stood in the way of achieving a key community goal to establish public open space along the waterfront.  In addition, the building is positioned in a way that obstructs the historic vista of Main Street.

Recently a team of investors led by Mark Ordan signed a purchase agreement with the owners of 110 Compromise Street.  The Ordan team was enthusiastic about implementing the community’s vision of creating public open space along the waterfront and opening up views of Main Street, all without spending a dime of taxpayer money.  For the past several weeks Mr. Ordan’s architects and engineers worked diligently to develop draft plans.  They spent considerable time meeting individually with alderpersons, residents and businesspersons in order to design a project that our entire community would be proud of.  Most notably, in response to community concerns about loss of parking, Ordan’s team made the decision to build an underground parking deck despite significant added expense.

Mr. Ordan invited several community leaders to an open house last Wednesday to review the initial draft plans for the property and offer suggestions.  He was as surprised as I was when he learned that many of these individuals chose instead to stage a press conference the day before the open house to protest plans they hadn’t even seen.

Instead of offering ideas to improve the design, this coalition calling themselves “Save Annapolis” chose obstruction. They offered no alternative proposal or solution to revitalize 110 Compromise Street, instead playing on emotions and hyperbole to simply reject any change.

Last Thursday evening, Ordan’s team continued their public presentation of plans before the City’s Historic Preservation Commission for review and feedback.  They had scheduled another public open house for this evening.  Unfortunately, upon learning that the Coalition simply planned more protests instead of dialogue, Ordan’s team made the understandable decision to pull out.  Mr. Ordan called me yesterday to express his regret at this lost opportunity that we both believed would have offered a welcome shot in the arm for downtown.

Let me make it very clear: Save Annapolis has saved nothing except a cinder block eyesore in the floodplain that has sat vacant for years, blocking the historic vista of lower Main Street and blocking public access along the water.

110 Compromise Street is private property.  The only way that our community will realize any public benefit on that property is by working collaboratively with a willing property owner.  Many residents and businesspersons recognize this and are as disappointed and perplexed as I am by the stance of these groups who are supposed to look out for the best interests of our town.

Last week, before Mr. Ordan pulled out, I requested a meeting with the Save Annapolis steering committee which is still scheduled for this afternoon.  I remain committed to seeking a solution for this property, and will call on Save Annapolis to come together with supporters of this proposal and seek common ground.  It is fitting that this property is located on Compromise Street, because compromise is what we need.  Not obstruction, not protests, but a collaborative effort to achieve a shared goal of revitalizing this blighted property in the heart of downtown.

Despite yesterday’s setback, I will seek to bring our community together to keep working toward that goal.

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Category: Local News, NEWS

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Comments (4)

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  1. Rainlion says:

    Mr. Mayor, with all due respect, a lot of that is preposterous…

    “The Ordan team was enthusiastic about implementing the community’s vision of creating public open space along the waterfront and opening up views of Main Street, all without spending a dime of taxpayer money. ”

    so – blocking views and over-topping surrounding structures is “opening up views”? And sorry, but if the cost of the project went up for the Ordan team because of the underground parking – a response to the “community’s vision”, ummm that would be the cost of business.

    “I will seek to bring our community together to keep working toward that goal” — after denigrating the goup you wish to meet with?

    C’mon. To paint this as something that was scotched soley by “Save Annapolis” is disingenuous at best… there were many businesses and downtown residents who proposed the plan. Lastly, before one begins characterizing structures as eyesores and bemoaning a lack of vision to return them to viable community assets… ya might want to sort out the Market House mess first… just a thought.

  2. Stefanie says:

    Lets see the reason local businesses and residents are opposed to this project is because #1 it would bring in new business, and #2 no resident likes construction near their home. Downtown annapolis could be so much better than it is!

  3. Miles says:

    I agree. Save Annapolis is about much more than one building proposal, it’s about the whole master plan (eliminating the circle, eliminating a lane of traffic, raising the height limits in the dock area), and from what I’ve read, it was the raising of the height limit which doomed this proposal. And to Ordan, boo hoo, “For the past several weeks Mr. Ordan’s architects and engineers worked diligently to develop draft plans.” Only “weeks” for a city that has been here for over 300 years? Maybe that was the problem. Good design takes more than weeks.

  4. Rainlion says:

    that’s got to be one of the silliest things I’ve read this week Stefanie… thanks for sharing. Yes, it could be better, but this dang sure wasn’t the way to go about it.

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