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Developer Plots For-Profit Recreation Center In West Baltimore

A former furniture warehouse in West Baltimore's Franklin Square neighborhood could be transformed into a community building and recreation center.
Pending approval from the city's zoning board, a two-story, 33,000 square-foot vacant building at 5 N. Calhoun St. could become a for-profit recreation center, says property owner and developer Cecil Clarke.
The plan comes amid the permanent closures this month of four city-operated recreation centers in West Baltimore due to budget cuts.
Clarke says he believes the area around the proposed recreation center is poised for tremendous growth and revitalization after years of delayed progress on projects like the Red Line and “Superblock."

The warehouse location at North Calhoun and West Baltimore Streets is less than a mile from the University of Maryland Medical Center. Nearby on Baltimore Street, 17 new businesses including a coffee shop have opened in the past two years, Clarke says.
The amount and diversity of development projects makes Clarke feel optimistic about the city's future.
Despite Clarke's optimism, the "Superblock" project has faced hurdles over the past decade and Maryland's highest court has only recently dismissed a lawsuit trying to block the proposed $152 million apartment and retail project near Lexington and Howard Streets. 
Clarke revealed few details about the project and the prospective tenant could not be reached for comment. The project will go before the city's zoning and appeals board Sept. 18.
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]
Source: Cecil Clarke, property developer
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