Johns Hopkins Gazette: December 9, 1996 Form

Hopkins' Plan To Buy
Eastern H.S. Site
OK'd By City

Dennis O'Shea
News and Information
Baltimore City has approved the university's contract to buy and redevelop the vacant Eastern High School building and surrounding property on East 33rd Street.

Approval was subject to several conditions, the most important of which is agreement on details of the proposed location of a community school in the Eastern building. Johns Hopkins has always been enthusiastic about placing the school in the building and sees the condition as no obstacle to completion of the deal, the university said.

The city Board of Estimates set its Dec. 11 meeting for approval of the contract addendum. The university said it expects to take possession of the 26-acre Eastern site, immediately across from Memorial Stadium, within 90 days after that approval. It plans to begin renovating the former school building as early as next summer.

When renovations are complete, about a quarter of the 150,000 square foot building is expected to house university offices, including programs from the School of Continuing Studies and the School of Engineering. The Kennedy Krieger Institute plans to open a new high school for students with special needs in the building. The remainder of the renovated facility is expected to encompass the community school and a business incubator operated by Dome Corp., an affiliate of the university and of the Johns Hopkins Health System.

The university said that, depending on its own needs and the availability of other suitable tenants, it may eventually build four to five new buildings, with up to 400,000 total square feet, at the Eastern site.

The location, just east of the Homewood campus, makes it a natural site to accommodate future university expansion or collaborative efforts between Hopkins and partners from business or the federal government.

The return of activity to the property and the addition of jobs and two schools will help anchor the eastern end of the Greater Homewood area of north Baltimore and reinforce neighborhoods that are important to the university and its students, faculty and staff, university officials said.

"This is a project that will benefit everyone concerned," said university President William R. Brody. "It's good for the university, good for the community, good for the city and good for the schools and businesses that will join us in the renovated building."

The university will make an initial payment of $100,000 for the property. Future payments, tied to the completion dates for the renovation of the existing building and construction of any new ones, could total more than $2 million over as long as 20 years.

The high school building was built in 1939 and has stood vacant since the school closed in 1986. The interior will be fully renovated and all new mechanical systems will be installed.

Approval by the Board of Estimates completes a process that began early last year, when the university submitted a bid for the site. The city selected the Hopkins proposal over a competing bid in July 1995. Since then, the university and Dome Corp., which has been assisting the university, have been involved in engineering and other studies of the site, discussions with potential tenants for the redeveloped high school building, and negotiations with the city on the final contract.

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