Category: Preservation

Upton Mansion and Druid Health Center awarded to developers through the Vacants to Value Surplus Sale

For the past two years, Baltimore Housing has worked to find developers for unique vacant properties through their Vacants to Value Surplus Sale. In 2015, Baltimore Housing listed 18 properties for development including historic school buildings, firehouses, and rowhouses located in neighborhoods across the city.

Earlier this week, we learned that the city has issued awards for seven properties including the former Druid Health Center/Home of the Friendless in Marble Hill and the Upton Mansion. In a press release, Deputy Commissioner of Land Resources Julia Day praised the variety and care the city saw from the selected developers: “From rental and market rate housing projects to a music & arts complex for youth and studio space aimed at Baltimore’s budding music scene – the applications were well thought out and sure to enhance our City assets.”

There is plenty of work ahead for the developers putting these vacant historic buildings back into use but the announcement is still encouraging news. The properties and developers include:

  • 2200 block of E. Biddle Street awarded to Cross Street Partners, City Life Builders, and Chesapeake Habitat for Humanity (seven row houses in the Middle East neighborhood)
  • 1401 E. Biddle Street awarded to Redbrick LMD (a former charter school connected to the Madison Square Recreation Center in the Gay Street neighborhood)
  • 1313 Druid Hill Avenue awarded to The Aziz Group (the former Home of the Friendless/Druid Health Center in Upton)
  • 24 N. High Street awarded to Leon & Dorothy Wigglesworth (a commercial storefront in the Jonestown neighborhood)
  • 811 W. Lanvale Street awarded to C & A, Inc. (the former Upton Mansion in the Upton neighborhood)

Baltimore Housing is encouraging developers interested in  any of the remaining 2015 surplus properties to send in an unsolicited bid by March 31, 2016. These remaining properties include:

  • 800 block of Edmondson Avenue
  • 800 block of Harlem Avenue
  • 3101 Presbury Street
  • 4701 Yellowwood Road
  • 4800 block of Pimlico Road
  • 5002 Frederick Avenue
  • 5837 Belair Road
  • 707-713 E. 34th Street
  • 1315–1327 Division Street (Former Public School 103)
  • 1500-1600 blocks of Edmondson Avenue
  • 1749-1757 Gorsuch Avenue (Former Engine Company No. 33)
  • 2950-2966 Mosher Street

You can find more information about any of these properties from Vacants to Value or contact Baltimore Housing at 410-396-4111. To help encourage the development of these buildings, we created a new map highlighting auctions, real estate listings, and development opportunities in Baltimore City. Please take a look at the opportunity map and get in touch with your thoughts on how we can keep improving this new resource.


1232 Druid Hill Avenue is saved from demolition… for now

On January 12, the Baltimore Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP) voted unanimously to add the George W. King/Abraham Briscoe House at 1232 Druid Hill Avenue to the city’s historic potential landmark list. Baltimore Heritage worked closely with the Marble Hill Community Association to prepare the landmark nomination. CHAP clearly saw how important it is to save places tied to Baltimore’s African American and Civil Rights heritage—especially after tragic loss of the Freedom House at 1234 Druid Hill Avenue this past fall. The experiences of Abraham Briscoe and the generations of Baltimoreans who lived at 1232 Druid Hill Avenue reflects the history of the Great Migration, racial segregation and the Civil Rights movement in the late 19th and early 20th century.

1232 Druid Hill Avenue, 2016 January 15
1232 Druid Hill Avenue, 2016 January 15

Fortunately, potential landmark designation protects 1232 Druid Hill Avenue from demolition for the next six months. But because this is only a potential landmark nomination, these protections run out in July unless the Baltimore City Council takes action first. If a member of the City Council introduces an ordinance to list the property as a full city landmark before July, the protections are immediately extended for another eighteen months. If the City Council votes to approve the ordinance and the Mayor signs it into law before the end of that period, the city gives 1232 Druid Hill Avenue landmark status forever.

Last week, we reached out to Councilman Eric Costello (who represents the Upton neighborhood as part of the 11th District) to ask him to join us in protecting this landmark and introduce a landmark designation ordinance. If you are resident of the 11th District, we urge you to reach out to Councilman Costello and share your own support for preserving 1232 Druid Hill Avenue by emailing

1200 block of Druid Hill Avenue, 2016 January 15
1200 block of Druid Hill Avenue, 2016 January 15

Saving 1232 Druid Hill Avenue from demolition is an important step forward in our efforts to preserve Baltimore’s Civil Rights Heritage. We are interested in working with Bethel AME Church to see 1232 Druid Hill Avenue redeveloped for use as a home or community space. We are working residents to expand the Marble Hill Historic District and protect other properties at the edges of the district. We are supporting neighborhood activists fighting for the stabilization of the Harry S. Cummings House at 1318 Druid Hill Avenue. Please subscribe for updates on Baltimore’s Civil Rights heritage for ongoing updates on these efforts and share your own thoughts in the comments.

[gravityform id=”18″ title=”true” description=”true”]

Submit a nomination for our 2016 Preservation Awards!

We need your help to find the past year’s best preservation projects. Are you….

  • a homeowner who just finished a big restoration project? Or you know a neighbor who has?
  • a builder or architect who worked on a unique adaptive reuse project last year?
  • a volunteer with a community group preserving and celebrating historic places in Baltimore?
2015 Award Recipient, Police Station at Fells Point Station 1621 Bank Street
2015 Award Recipient, Police Station at Fells Point Station 1621 Bank Street

If you answered yes, then we want you to nominate your preservation project or heritage achievement for our 2016 Preservation Awards. Since 1961, we have given awards to hundreds of projects and people, from rowhouse renovations to brewery conversions, from authors of Baltimore history to civic groups saving our buildings and revitalizing our neighborhoods. We welcome nominations for projects large and small.

We keep our awards nomination process simple—all we need is a short description of the project or achievement, images, and names and contact information for the project partners. Learn more about our awards categories and review process then please send in your nomination today. Remember to make a nomination before our deadline on Wednesday, March 2, 2016. And don’t forget to stay tuned for the details on our annual awards celebration in June!

2015 Award Recipient, Bolton Hill Nursery School
2015 Award Recipient, Bolton Hill Nursery School

Guilford Apartments on E. North Avenue up for auction on January 28

An early 20th century apartment building at 231-233 E. North Avenue is up for auction on January 28—presenting an important opportunity for continued investment in the historic Greenmount West neighborhood. In the past few years, public art from the Station North Arts and Entertainment District, developers fixing up landmarks like The Centre Theatre and the Chesapeake Restaurant, and the hard work of neighborhood residents with the New Greenmount West Community Association have combined into a unique example of how arts, culture and historic preservation can support community development.

231-233 E. North Avenue, 2015 November 15
231-233 E. North Avenue, 2015 November 15

Formerly known as the Guilford Apartments, 233 E. North Avenue dates back to 1902 when the Guilford Avenue Construction Company awarded a $23,000 construction contract to builder C.S.M. Williamson. In the 1900s and 1910s, developers erected small to mid-sized apartment buildings across central and north Baltimore including the nearby Preston Apartment House (1902) at Guilford Avenue and Preston Street and The Walbert (1907) on Charles Street. The 1880s rowhouse next door at 231 E. North Avenue remained a single-family home up through the 1910s but was converted into an office by 1953.

Twenty years ago, the owner of the building received approval to expand from 22 apartments to 40 for a senior housing project. The effort stalled with little progress and, in 2012, a new developer won support from the Board of Municipal and Zoning Appeals to turn the vacant building into nineteen apartments. According to the auctioneer, the owner then gutted the interior preparing to start construction but could not complete the project.

233 E. North Avenue from Guilford Avenue, 2015 November 15
233 E. North Avenue from Guilford Avenue, 2015 November 15

On Thursday, January 28, 2016 at 12:30 pm, 231-233 E. North Avenue is up for auction and we hope the building is rehabilitated and offers a welcome home for new neighbors in the Greenmount West community. The starting bid is for the property is $175,000 and property taxes are $4,465.12 (2015-2016). Thanks to the building’s location within the North Central National Register Historic District, a project at this building could be eligible for the Baltimore City Historic Tax Credit program—check out our tax credit guide for more information. Plans are also available:

Learn more about the 231-233 E. North Avenue from Ashland Auction. For questions or more information, contact auctioneer Adam Shpritz by phone at 410-365-3595 (cell) or 410-488-3124 (office) or by email at Pr-bid offers are accepted by phone at 410-488-3124 or by email to