Have relationships between developers and local officials gotten too close?
A: "[No.] The local officials understand that we bring value and additional tax revenue to the community, but they have to also weigh that against their community's concerns. The officials are willing to work with us, but only within the limits of the regulations. Even at a lunch meeting, we 'go Dutch.'" –Tim Reidy, vice president of development, Gates McVey
A: "For the development community to be able to deliver housing stock that is sustainable and of high quality, a synergy has to exist between the private sector responsible for delivering the product and the public sector responsible for regulating it. This synergy, however, must occur under complete transparency." –Oscar Rodriguez, vice president, The Related Group
A: "I don't think so. In urban infill housing, Urban Pacific will always seek community buy-in, first and foremost. We also strive to develop great relationships with local officials, but only after we go to the neighborhoods affected by the project first. Without community buy-in, your likelihood of playing the heavy hand in the political process will backfire badly. Thus, it makes no sense to play it this way, though you will always have parts of the development community who haven't figured this out." –Scott K. Choppin, managing partner, Urban Pacific Builders
Project of the Month
Spinnaker Bay Baltimore
Even before construction began, one could say that Spinnaker Bay, a 315-unit high-rise apartment community nestled in Baltimore, already had bragging rights thanks to its waterfront locale.
Renters have flocked to this new Baltimore property, which is 96.5 percent leased.
Credit: The Bozzuto Group
But designing and building the project wasn't all smooth sailing for the Bozzuto Group and H&S Properties Development Corp., which ran into rough waters more than once. Among the issues: How could they maximize the property's dazzling waterfront views without blocking its selling points?
"Spinnaker Bay occupies an entire square block and had the potential to visually overwhelm its setting," says Bozzuto Group CEO Tom Bozzuto. "To ensure that the large project harmonizes architecturally and proportionately with existing area structures, the design creates the impression of a collection of buildings. Four very different facades were designed, and building heights were 'stepped' from the water, from eight stories to 18 stories."
Another issue was where to locate the parking garage without taking away from the site's water-hugging views. As a result, the parking garage was placed at the core of the community, with project's residential, retail, and restaurant elements wrapping around it. A rooftop terrace, whose spa-like setting includes a pool, extensive landscaping, and a fountain, also was added to highlight the site's views and give residents more ways to enjoy the waterfront location.
To further accentuate the project's ongoing water theme, the builder used glass elements throughout. "Water is subtly suggested in other ways as well, in the compass design that appears on the front desk, in the shell fossils that appear in the stone used in the elevator lobbies, even in the signage, which was fashioned from engraved, wavelike glass," Bozzuto notes.
The project also includes a for-sale condo component. There are 32 condo units offered, ranging in size from 1,400 square feet to 4,000 square feet. Prices for the condos go from $600,000 to about $4.2 million.
The apartment units range in size from 525 square feet to 1,675 square feet. Monthly rents range from about $1,515 to $4,250. The project opened in May 2005. Bozzuto also manages the property, which is recognized as having the fastest lease-up in the city.
–Abby Garcia Telleria