Neither the CEO of Under Armour nor his real estate company has any intention of buying West Covington Park from the National Aquarium – or helping the Baltimore Rowing Club relocate to that site.
John Maroon, speaking on behalf of Kevin Plank’s Sagamore Development Co. LLC, said that architectural drawings for a boat house, restaurant and other facilities – published earlier today in The Brew – were not meant for the publicly-financed but still-unopened park.
“That is a park,” wrote Maroon in an emailed statement to The Brew late this afternoon. “It is not controlled or owned by Sagamore, and the Rowing Club could never be located there because it is a park.”
In fact, the rowing club is currently located on city parkland on the south side of Middle Branch and leases a city-owned building.
John Racanelli, CEO of the National Aquarium that owns West Covington Park, says the aquarium has had talks with Sagamore and others about selling its properties.
He said the talks have not advanced far, even though the aquarium is seriously thinking of selling its Middle Branch holdings, which were originally purchased from the city for an aquatic life center campus.
Built with federal, state and aquarium funds, West Covington Park was slated to open in 2011, but that date has been repeatedly pushed back.
According to Maroon, Sagamore Development wants the park to open. “As an area stakeholder and neighboring property owner, Sagamore wants that park to remain a park and hopes, like many others, that it opens soon,” he wrote today.
Judd Anderson, executive director of Reach High Baltimore and a member of the rowing club’s coaching staff, told The Brew earlier this week that Sagamore commissioned the drawings to fit any one of three locations on the Middle Branch.
A location preferred by some members of the rowing club was near Swann Park, Anderson said. But some Sagamore representatives indicated that they preferred the West Covington Park site, he said.
Maroon said he was inaccurately quoted as saying he “didn’t deny” that the rowing club could be located at West Covington Park. “You never asked me for that,” he said. “I can’t deny something that I wasn’t asked.”
Maroon demanded that The Brew correct today’s story and headline to reflect that West Covington Park is not being looked at as a future rowing club site. He also faulted other information that came from Anderson, who talked to Brew reporter Ed Gunts on Monday.
Maroon said Sagamore does not currently own the ex-Western Maryland Railway bridge over Middle Branch. Regarding a purported Sagamore plan to hire a San Francisco lighting specialist to light up the Hanover Street bridge – “that is just not true,” Maroon said.
He also criticized the reporter for not properly identifying himself to Anderson. “We find that troubling,” Maroon wrote.
Reporter Gunts said he was greeted by name by Anderson during a meeting of city officials and waterfront planners on Monday.
After the meeting broke up, Anderson discussed the images for a future rowing club facility and provided a set of Sagamore’s drawings when Gunts requested them.