Camden Yards Development Project Canceled

1979 Camden Yards plan
1979 Camden Yards plan

This isn’t the Camden Yards you’re probably thinking of. We stumbled across an interesting article in the Baltimore Sun from 1984. It spoke of a large real estate project on the site of the current Camden Yards, started in 1979, and which was canceled. the article was printed on October 9th.

A development group that announced plans five years ago to build a $170 million mixed-use complex in the Camden Yards area has abandoned the project and put the property up for sale, including the historic Camden Station.

CSX Resources, Inc., which had been working with the Oliver T. Carr Company of Washington to develop the property, has set October 15 as the deadline for prospective buyers to submit proposals for the 127-year-old station, a six-story office building and about 5 acres of land nearby, according to a CSX spokesman who asked not to be named.

The sale marks the end of one of the most ambitious development projects planned for Baltimore in the past three decades. At the same time, it opens for redevelopment an area where little has happened in recent years.

The Camden Yards master plan, unveiled at a City Hall news conference in 1979, called for construction of up to 700 new residences, a 500-room hotel, office buildings with more than one million square feet of space, shops and parking for 3,100 cars.

The project was to be built on a total of 22 acres, including 14.5 acres owned by the B&O Railroad and 7.5 acres of city land that would be sold or leased to the developers.

The project was heralded as one of the largest single downtown projects since the 33-acre Charles Center redevelopment, and the developers said it would take 10 to 12 years to complete.

The plan since has gone through various modifications — including provisions at one point for a downtown baseball stadium — but work has not begun on any phase of the original project.

The property for sale — about 5.9 acres in all — includes Camden Station, a 35,000-square-foot structure that was built between 1852 and 1857; a six-story, 18,000 square foot office building connected to Camden Station and the eight-story B&O warehouse, and about 5 acres of land between the B&O warehouse and Interstate 395.

Wow. Can you imagine how different things would be today if this development project went through? Not only do we have a terrific stadium for the Orioles, but that stadium kicked off the renaissance of beautiful new baseball stadiums built over the last two decades. What if that never happened?

About Tom

Tom founded Ghosts of DC on January 4th, 2012 as a blog to uncover the lost and untold history of Washington, D.C. He has lived in the city for over a decade and loves exploring every corner of the District.

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