What is the status of the project?
The project is currently under review by Planning and Zoning in advance of a Planning Commission Hearing. The design and community benefits for the project have been greatly enhanced by incorporating many of the Eastport Community’s ideas received to date. The developer continues to engage with the Community in an ongoing effort to include additional suggestions from residents. We have been actively engaged with multiple community groups, politicians, and local businesses for over 4 years. The development team has attended and / or provided presentations in 37 different community meetings and will continue to reach out to work with interested residents.
What is a sustainable community? How does Eastport Landing contribute to sustainable community building?
According to the EPA, ‘sustainable community’ covers a range of development and conservation strategies that help protect our health and natural environment and make our communities more attractive, economically stronger at the local level, and more socially diverse.
Increased traffic congestion, loss of open space, infrastructure costs and a desire for more housing options have all made creating sustainable communities an increasingly powerful strategy for building and revitalizing communities, bringing local services to the community and protecting the environment. Many states and localities are creating neighborhoods that offer a variety of transportation options, access to parks and recreation, a wide range of housing types, local serving retail uses, economic opportunity, lively streets and quiet residential neighborhoods.
Designers and planners have realized that creating active, local community centers can help achieve goals for healthy living, providing housing options, creating walkable neighborhoods and protecting their air, water and open space. This balance helps create a sense of place - a place to walk, a place to talk to neighbors, a place the children know they are safe to walk to school.
To create these great places, communities are encouraging a mix of uses in commercial areas to provide a range of housing choices, with community space, outdoor areas and shops. The combination of proper design principles, along with resident involvement, helps ensure that the activity centers contribute to the community’s economic, social and environmental health.
Eastport Landing’s redevelopment epitomizes the principles of creating healthy and sustainable communities.
What is the exact location of the redevelopment?
While the redevelopment includes improvements to the entire shopping center site, new structures are proposed on approx. 2.63 acres of the 6.75 acre property. Specifically the former theater building and Adam’s Rib will make way for the new structure. The development team is in active discussions with ownership of Adam’s Rib for a permanent relocation in the proposed development. This investment of residential activity and new local market and retail services will ensure that the Eastport Shopping center can prosper in the future.
What is the current zoning of the property? What are the permitted uses?
The property is zoned B-2, which is a very inclusive zone allowing for a range of different uses. Permitted By-Right uses include retail, office, and residential. Residential must be located above non-residential uses. Other uses allowed by special exception include hotel.
Why won’t a grocery store come to the shopping center?
The ownership and development team have exhausted efforts to attract a grocery operator to the site. The shopping center has seen three failed grocer uses during its 55 year history. Unfortunately, the reality of the trade area is that there are not enough households to support a grocer on the site. This problem is compounded with the current and planned offerings along Forest Drive which further bifurcate the customer base. Ownership and the development team are committed to delivering a Market full of local, small shop specialty merchants to maximize offerings for the residents of Eastport.
Can you describe the Market concept? Will local merchants and local services be included?
After listening to the communities desire for more specialty and convenience offerings, the owner and development team started planning a local marketplace concept. The Market will be a mix of specialty food driven concepts including prepared foods and grocery offerings such as fresh local produce, local butchered meats and fresh caught, local seafood. Eastport Landing will also provide a permanent location for local merchants and vendors to offer their goods to the local community. The merchandising plan is in design and potential merchants are being pursued. Check back in on our news feed as we start to announce early commitments. To date, the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
Has a traffic study been completed for the project? What are the traffic impacts of the project?
Under the Planned Development process, the Planning and Zoning Department solicits proposals from multiple engineering firms. P&Z writes the Traffic Engineers scope of work and provides the proposed project programming. Although, the study is paid for by the Developer, they never have any contact with the selected Traffic Consultant. This traffic study is in addition to the Eastport Comprehensive study that was done in 2015 and it did consider impacts of all development projects with definitive plans.
The specific programming for this traffic study included 127 apartments and 11,000 square feet of commercial space. The traffic engineer and the City concluded impacts to be “negligible”.
Conservatively, out of the 16,500 average daily trips on Bay Ridge, the proposed project adds only 50 vehicular trips during peak travel hours; that’s less than one car per minute during morning and afternoon rush hours. By way of comparison, occupying the current movie theatre and adding a convenience store with gas station increases volumes by 30% and a grocery store increases volumes by 27%. These volumes are figures taken directly from the International Traffic Engineers manual volume 4.
Were other potential developments included in the traffic study?
In addition to Eastport Landing, the Traffic Engineers included the following projects in the Traffic Impact Analysis: South Annapolis Yacht Centre, Eastport Sail Lofts, Annapolis Yacht Club, Griscom Square, Primrose Hill and St. Mary’s School.
What are the traffic impacts of some of the permitted B-2 uses on the property?
45K sf supermarket 4601 avg daily trips
5k sf convenience mkt 4228 avg daily trips
127 Apartments 893 avg daily trips
Eastport Landing is committed to participating in circulation solutions that benefit the area.
How many apartments are planned?
The development plan has changed dramatically over the last 4 years. Originally, the developer proposed 220 units in a 7 story building. After working with the local community and listening to concerns regarding scale and traffic, the current proposal is for 127 apartment units and 10,000 square feet of Market space. The project cannot lose any further density and still deliver improved retail offerings and an exceptional Market.
How many additional apartment units are planned at Watergate Village?
The rumors around the future of Watergate Village are just that, rumors. The previous owner had produced marketing materials for the sale of the property which showed a maximized density of the property which is likely not buildable both from an economic perspective and from an adequate public facilities perspective. We are not aware of any submittal to the City on Watergate Village and any discussion about possible increased density is pure speculation.
What is the building height of the proposed new construction?
The height of the building eave along Chesapeake Ave is 36’4”, while the height to the peak of the sloped roof is 59’10”. The building is a 4-story structure along Chesapeake and a 5-story structure along the rear of the site due to the 10’ drop in grades.
The building has been designed with wide promenades, multiple step backs at each level and with sloped and gabled roofs. The result is a building that creates a lot of breathing room, pushing the highest parts of the building well off the property line, sidewalk and street. There is precedent for similar building height in the area with the below projects maintaining similar or less setback with height.
How does the project improve the environment?
In one word, positively. The original shopping center was built 55 years ago when storm water management practices were non-existent. The planned development triggers that the requirement for stormwater to be treated with modern techniques such as green roof elements and micro bioretention. The developer is voluntarily exceeding the requirements of the Code for stormwater treatment. Additionally, the developer is committed to delivering a LEED Silver building which takes into considerations such as air quality, building efficiency, recycling programs, and transit conditions among many others.
What are the community benefits of the project?
In addition to the local services and retail uses in the year-round market, the project has incorporated a range of public benefits and landscaping and building design features to create an active community ‘gathering place’. We have heard loud and clear that the Community desires a community center that will create a sense of place in Eastport. A spot where local residents can shop, gather, mingle and enjoy community events. The landscape design offers a park-like setting with bench seating, lush landscape, outdoor flex seating for seasonal events as well as an outdoor fire-pit. The new building also contains 1,000 square feet of community space which will be offered to nonprofits, and local artists for use as exhibit space, year round events and community meetings. The project will also offer wide sidewalks with an abundance of bike racks and a bike work station for pedestrians and bicyclists.
When should construction begin? How long will it take to build?
By our estimates, the project will take another 8 - 12 months worth of planning and permitting. The construction period will then consist of another 14-16 months.
What is the economic impact of the proposed project?
According to an economic impact analysis completed by the Regional Economic Studies Institute (RESI) at Towson University, the redevelopment activity at Eastport Landing will support approximately 356 jobs, $67.1 million dollars in output and more than $22 million dollars in local employee compensation. Once the project is complete, annual operations will support approximately 73 jobs, $9.7 million in output and $2,7 million in employee compensation. The redevelopment activity will generate $2.9 million dollars in State and Local taxes during construction. Once completed, the project will generate approximately $900,000 in state and local taxes on an annual basis.
Why can’t the developer just build the marketplace (or other retail) without any apartments?
The feasibility of a standalone marketplace is not financeable and would not make economic sense. The ownership group can only make the marketplace a reality by creating a mixed-use project that can financially support the construction and operations of a marketplace.
What will happen to Diehl’s Farmer’s Market?
The development group has been in active conversations with Abby Diehl and has programmed both outdoor and indoor space for Diehl’s Market, providing for an enhanced year-round Farmer’s Market. We are in active discussions to more fully solidify the offerings.