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Former McCormick Spice Factory Site Goes To Auction

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This two-acre parking lot is the last major parcel of land yet to be developed along Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.
Cathy Duchamp
This two-acre parking lot is the last major parcel of land yet to be developed along Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

A prime piece of real estate on Baltimore's Inner Harbor will be sold at auction Tuesday. The sale is renewing hopes of a downtown real estate revival.

Today it's a two-acre parking lot. But longtime Baltimore residents know it as the McCormick spice factory site, where the smell of cinnamon and tea hung in the air. With Tuesday's auction, there's anticipation for a sweet future.

"I think it's one of the best locations on the East Coast. With the harbor across the street and 50 minutes from Washington, D.C., you'd be hard pressed to find a better site than this," says Kirby Fowler, president of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore.

This is a foreclosure auction. The Philadelphia firm that owned the property couldn't afford it. Fowler believes there are developers that have the money to build new projects downtown.

"I'm starting to see a thaw. After two years of inactivity we're starting to receive phone calls from developers again and prospective property owners, so I feel like 2011 is going to be a lot better than the last two years," Fowler says.

Though there's agreement among analysts that job growth is key to a significant real estate rebound.

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