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May 29, 2024

Hopkins to purchase vacant 33rd Street lot

By Giselle Chang | April 15, 2009

Hopkins is currently in negotiations with Canyon Johnson Urban Funds and Struever Brothers Eccles and Rouse real estate development firm to purchase the empty lot in Charles Village commonly known as the Olmsted.

Dennis O'Shea, Hopkins spokesperson, said that the University hopes to wrap up negotiations and finalize the purchase soon.

The University hopes to continue with the original plans of Canyon Johnson and Struever Bros to use the lot for retail outlets, housing and parking.

The University statement said the planning process for the eventual development of the block will include input from the community, from city government and from other stakeholders.

While negotiations could be wrapped up in a few weeks, O'Shea said that as these things take time, it could be over a month before any plans are finalized.

"The University is committed to eventual construction on the site of a multi-use development, including parking, retail and as-yet unspecified university uses," the statement said.

Dana Moore, president of the Charles Village Civic Association, said that while he is unsure what course the development of the lot will take, he hopes that the interim use will include parking spaces.

"It's a huge opportunity for the city and for the community, for the students and for the leadership to put our very best minds to how space is used," Moore said. "Everyone that I've talked to has said 'Thank God that something positive is going to happen there'; we feel like we're in for a long road but something's going to happen."

Moore said that there is some nervousness on the part of the community with regards to promises that Streuver Bros. made to the Charles Village community.

There were promises made to the community by Streuver Bros. Specifically, 350 units of parking and the completion of streetscaping, according to Moore.

Ralph Moore, Dana's husband, added that the community is concerned that Hopkins keeps the Charles Village community in mind in the development.

"Ultimately the community must be respected and businesses cannot operate without appreciating that simple fact," he said. "The community deserves to be respected and cannot be expected to give up understandings and all that were made between the community and the prior dealmakers," he added.

Moore also spoke of the community's previous unhappiness with developers.

"With other Hopkins owned property near the University, the Hopkins Square property in particular, the developers, the Cordish Company Team, have not been particularly open and respectful of the community in terms of the community's concerns and wishes," Moore said. "Some of this was apparent over the development of the 7-Eleven on the corner of 31st and Charles; they've operated as if they don't even have to talk to us, which is unfortunate because this is our neighborhood."

According to Moore, the community expects the choice of developer and certain lighting, as well as streetscaping expectations, which were previously made with Streuver Bros., to be carried out.

"One thing to keep in mind is that, if the University does purchase it, it's doubtful that it would be called Olmsted anymore," O'Shea wrote.

"That was a name given to the project by the current owners."

According to the University's official statement regarding the negotiations, Canyon Johnson and Streuver Bros. had planned to name the lot the Olmsted in honor of Frederick Law Olmsted, the architect who designed Wyman Park Dell.

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