“I think it’s an incredibly important building,” said local historian Deb Weiner of the Romanesque-style building designed by architects Edward Lupus and Henry A. Roby. “After B’nai Israel and the Lloyd Street Synagogue, it’s probably the most important building to the Baltimore Jewish community. “It represents the era, in the 19th century, when Jews started to build charities,” Weiner continued. “It shows how the community was becoming more affluent and could afford it.” …
“We got involved when there was a proposal to demolish the building,” said Johns Hopkins, executive director of Baltimore Heritage, Inc. and a board member of the Coppin Heights Community Development Corporation. “Then Coppin State got a new president who thought the building was an asset.” Hopkins and his colleagues worked with Coppin State to get the building on the National Register of Historic Places in 2010. “It was a slam-dunk,” said Hopkins, “since the building was so significant both architecturally and historically.”
With support from Coppin State, in 2012, the Coppin Heights Community Development Corporation, Baltimore Heritage, Inc. and architectural firm Kann Partners were granted a $2.5 million tax credit from the Maryland Sustainable Communities Tax Credit program. A state study later concluded that the neighborhood around the building was one of the five least healthy in the state, leading Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown to announce that the neighborhood would encompass one of five new Health Enterprise zones. The Coppin Heights Community Development Corporation will now restore the building and create a full-service medical facility called the Center for Health Care and Healthy Living.
Over the last several weeks, the effort to restore Baltimore’s Hebrew Orphan Asylum took a big step forward when Coppin State University, which purchased the building in 2003, and the University of Maryland agreed to sell the property to the Coppin Heights Community Development Corporation.
For nearly five years, the Coppin Heights CDC and Baltimore Heritage have led a tireless effort to rehabilitate and reuse the Hebrew Orphan Asylum. As the Baltimore Sun reported last month, the CDC is planning $12.4 million rehabilitation and to open the building in December 2015. The CDC’s architect, Kann Partners, recently completed detailed construction plans and is working with engineers and contractors to hammer out the details.
As soon as this transfer is complete, the Coppin Heights CDC is prepared to begin rehabilitation work transforming the building into the new Center for Healthcare and Healthy Living with Total Health Care Inc. as the building’s new tenant. Total Health Care currently operates eight clinics in West Baltimore and will use the entire building for a clinic, physician offices and a pharmacy. Community residents and anyone interested in the future of this West Baltimore landmark are encouraged to attend the “Prelude to Victory” meeting next week to discuss the next steps on the project. Although we are not opening the champagne bottles yet, the future for Baltimore’s Hebrew Orphan Asylum looks brighter than ever.
We are thrilled to share the good news that the neighborhoods of Evergreen, Bridgeview/Greenlawn, and Rosemont Homeowners/Tenants have been listed to the National Register of Historic Places through the new Edmondson Avenue Historic District on December 27, 2010.
We appreciate the support we received from West Baltimore MARC TOD Transportation, Inc., the Alliance of Rosemont Community Organizations and the Evergreen Protective Association as we developed and submitted the nomination last year. We look forward to continuing our partnerships with neighborhood leaders and residents to help home-owners within the new historic district take full advantage of the city and state historic tax credits as they maintain and rehabilitation the handsome “daylight” rowhouses that make up the new district.