Rouse Co., which just last week opened a $25-million shopping mall outside Baltimore, has been chosen by that city from among 12 other national developers to build a $119-million complex in the rejuvenated Inner Harbor.
The 2.1-acre site lies between Pratt and Calvert streets, across from Harborplace, also developed by Rouse. The complex will consist of a 500-room hotel, about 250,000 square feet of office space, a major department store and 75 to 100 specialty shops. There will be parking for 1,150 cars.
Bloomingdale's, the trendy New York store that has two outlets in suburban Maryland and Virginia, has signed a "letter of interest." Although not legally binding, the document serves as a basis for negotiation.
Another possible tenant mentioned by Baltimore's commissioner of housing and community development, M. Jay Brodie, is T. Rowe Price Associates, the Baltimore-based investment company.
Rouse has an agreement with the city to spend $100,000 to get a major corporate headquarters for the complex.
In explaining why the Columbia, Md.-based firm was chosen over its dozen competitors, Brodie told The Baltimore Sun, "The Rouse Co. has demonstrated a very special ability to produce spaces and buildings that combine commercial success with sparkle, warmth, color and human scale -- environments that invite everyone to participate."
While many of Rouse's developments have been suburbn shopping centers, the company has achieved its greatest recognition for its urban renewal projects, turning abandoned and decaying inner-city areas into fashionable and profitable sections.
The first was Boston's Quincy Market in the shadow of historic Fanueil Hall. It was inaugurated during the Bicentennial year. Last year Rouse opened Harborplace with its two pavilions towering over the site of once dingy warehouses and wharves. Since then more than 18 million people have visited its shops and restaurants.
"Baltimore has been an understored, undeveloped market," said Rouse's President Mathias DeVito as he officiated last week at the opening of the company's newest project, White Marsh, north of the city outside the beltway. That mall has five major department stores, including Washington-based Woodward & Lothrop and Bamberger's, the suburban division of Macy's in New York.
Woodies and Bamberger's, joined by Garfinckel's, another Washington retailer, also plan to open stores in another Rouse project, Painters Mill, scheduled to rise in later 1984 or 1985 in Baltimore's northwest suburbs. But in the city itself, Bloomies -- if negotiations work out -- will have little competition in its class.
The site, one of the few remaining along the waterfront, now contains a metered parking lot often used by shoppers and tourists visiting Harborplace.
DeVito said the project would take about 18 months to design and two years to construct. When it is completed and operational, the city of Baltimore, which will probably retain title to the land, will share the profits with Rouse.
At the end of 1980, Rouse operated 52 retail centers containing over 31 million square feet of retail space. It developed 34 of those and either purchased the rest or it operates them for other owners. Five new projects including White Marsh are scheduled to open this year.
For the first half of this year, the company's revenues were $63.2 million, up from $56.2 million. Profits rose 23 percent to $1.6 million. All the firm's operating divisions showed improved results during the second quarter except the mortgage banking division.