The redevelopment of the Rotunda mall and office complex has been approved by Baltimore’s Urban Design and Architectural Review Panel on Thursday, according to the Baltimore Business Journal.
The panel gave approval to the project's schematics during a panel meeting in August.
"I think the architecture isn’t great," panel member Gary Bowden said at that time. "There are a lot of ugly buildings in the area and I think this project has picked up some of that."
Hekemian and Co., the Rotunda’s owner, have been working for years to overhaul the struggling mall into an outdoor shopping complex with a residential component. Prior to the economic collapse in 2008, the company had hoped to add a 22-story apartment building, condos and a detached grocery store.
But last year the owner presented a scaled back version of the redevelopment plan to community groups that included about 300 market rate apartments and a grocery store that would remain attached to the main building.
Chris Bell, of Hekemian, has told community groups that they would like to break ground on the project this spring. But despite the formal panel approval the project still needs to go through several more steps with the city before it can be given the OK to proceed with construction.
In early 2012, the Rotunda’s long time anchor Giant moved its supermarket farther west on 41st Street after the Super Fresh closed its doors. In recent weeks, the developers have told reporters and residents that they expect to announce a new grocer to take over that spot in a few weeks.