We hope you can join us on January 26 at Hampton Mansion. In 1948, the federal government designated this eighteenth century manor a National Historic Site and, in 2017, the building remains one of the highest regarded examples of Georgian architecture in the country. We are thrilled that Ms. Gregory Weidman, the mansion’s head curator, is leading our tour.
Are you interested in our Lexington Market and catacombs tours but frustrated that you have been stuck on a waitlist? Our tour coordinator Marsha Wise is working with the market management to schedule monthly Saturday morning tours into the spring. Look out for an announcement when registration opens!
Finally, we could not be more pleased to share the news that one of our longest running preservation priorities, Baltimore’s Hebrew Orphan Asylum, took a big step towards a better future. The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development recently awarded the Coppin Heights Community Development Corporation a grant to purchase the building from the University of Maryland University System. We plan to keep you updated as we continue to work to restore this fantastic building as an asset to the Greater Rosemont community.
“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 excited to begin the year with some good news for the future of Baltimore’s Hebrew Orphan Asylum. With the Coppin Heights Community Development Corporation taking the lead, we have made great strides towards the preservation and reuse of this important West Baltimore landmark.
Maryland’s Department of Housing and Community Development has granted the Coppin Heights CDC $100,000 to stabilize the building. Not only does stabilization address the building’s severely compromised roof but it also allows architects and engineers to work safely inside to assess conditions and complete redevelopment plans.
Coppin Heights CDC has now secured $10 million in state and federal funding with support from the Maryland Sustainable Communities Tax Credit program, the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Credit program, and the New Markets Tax Credit program. This is great progress towards securing the resources necessary to restore the building and bring it back as an asset to the neighborhoods of Greater Rosemont.
Finally, just this afternoon, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown announced that West Baltimore, including the area around the Hebrew Orphan Asylum, one of five new Health Enterprise Zones across the state—a program that opens up new incentives for providing medical care to residents in under served neighborhoods like West Baltimore. The announcement comes as a welcome news, as the Hebrew Orphan Asylum is slated to be transformed into the Center for Health Care and Healthy Living to help address the same health disparities that the new Health Enterprise Zone is designed to reduce.
At Coppin State University, the building’s current owner, Dr. Mortimer Neufville is stepping in to serve as interim president after the resignation of Dr. Reginald Avery. Dr. Neufville takes the helm in a new day for the Hebrew Orphan Asylum as both CSU and the larger University of Maryland system have expressed their strong support for the project and are working together to make sure the building is restored and reused. Things are moving quickly for the Hebrew Orphan Asylum and we are more than optimistic that 2013 will see great steps forward for its preservation and reuse as a center for revitalization in West Baltimore.