Expressions of interest roll in for Cambridge waterfront redevelopment project

 

CAMBRIDGE, Md. – For several years, the City of Cambridge has had its sights set on revitalizing its waterfront. Cambridge Waterfront Development Inc. (CWDI) recently announced that dozens of interested parties have submitted their proposals for the site.

“We were struggling to get businesses interested [when we started]. I know Governor Larry Hogan went out of his way to try to interest people, and we were just not in the right place back then,” said Mayor Steve Rideout. “Now, it looks like there’s a wide variety of responses; hotels, housing, businesses.”

Expressions Of Interest

“The 27 responses we got after 123 days of having it out there published stand a wide range of respondents,” said CWDI Executive Director, Matt Leonard. “We had four investment developer groups, and multiple general contractors. We had a few design teams, we had some subcontractors and vendors, and we had some entities who would help us activate the site.”

The expressions of interest come from those who want to play a part in transforming more than 30 acres of land into a go-to destination.

“The outreach that we did in order to get the breadth and depth of responses worked. We really were looking to put together a partnership,” said Leonard. “It’s really been 20 or 30 years of vision. There were many face to face meetings with the community, many online information sessions or online surveys.”

Finding The Right Fit

Mayor Rideout says it’s not just about beautifying the views along the Choptank River. Adding, next steps will include doing some more digging and evaluations to find the right fit for the site, as far as its future tenants.

“It’s really meant to give all of the community access to the waterfront, access to jobs, access to things that make life in Cambridge, or will make life in Cambridge more fun and more exciting,” said Mayor Rideout. “I think the aim is to bring Cambridge together, not to separate the Cambridge harbor from the downtown area, or other waterfront areas.”

But as ideas roll in, the mayor says making sure the community is ready for change is also a crucial part of the process.

“What we need to do is help to make the community ready for those jobs, in terms of their education, training, and interesting those who have left to come back,” said Mayor Rideout.

“Putting people first”

Developers are planning for walking and biking trails, about three to five acres of green space with room for events up to 3,000 people, and increased access for watercraft. The site is also being prepared to be developed vertically, with residential and mixed-use residential and retail space.

Though plans are becoming more concrete, Leonard says the dream remains the same.

“Over those 20 or 30 years, that vision hasn’t changed a whole lot. It’s been very clear; open public access to the waterfront and green space, working the waterfront to honor the heritage of Cambridge,” said Leonard. “Clearly, when you live in a waterfront-type community like Cambridge, if you’re putting people first, that means that they must first have access to the water.”

Looking Ahead

CWDI is planning to continue working with respondents through the beginning of 2023. The organization says it will make final selections in the second quarter of 2023. Then, CWDI plans to report back to the community about the development team’s creation and progress.

CWDI is a non-profit development corporation created between the City, Dorchester County, and the state of Maryland. The organization was formed to operated and manage the Cambridge Harbor, and pave the way for waterfront redevelopment. If you have questions about the project, contact Matt Leonard at matt.leonard@cwdimd.org.

Categories: Local News, Maryland