October 28th, 2016

Officials mark groundbreaking on new Whole Foods building in Harbor East

Originally published October 28, 2016

by The Baltimore Sun


As officials celebrated the start of the next building in Harbor East, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said it was the success of that neighborhood that convinced her to stand firm in her support of subsequent development projects — even when they came with controversial tax benefits.

Rawlings-Blake traced her support to a stand-off with the late developer and baker John Paterakis about two decades ago, when she disagreed with the city’s decision to build a publicly subsidized hotel with Paterakis in Harbor East, instead of going with a different developer’s site, closer to the convention center.

“I can’t tell you how grateful I am to be wrong,” she said, describing the hotel as the “first domino” that eventually led to the rest of the neighborhood’s growth. “He made me a believer.”

Rawlings-Blake offered one of many tributes to Paterakis, who died earlier this month, at the ceremony celebrating the $170 million Liberty Harbor East project. The 22-story building at 711 S. Central Avenue will house a new, 50,000-square-foot Whole Foods, 282 apartments, 35 condominiums and about 575 parking spaces. Work has been underway since last month.

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