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Project CORE shares plan for the demolition of 149 vacant buildings in 2017 Share your comments on proposed demolitions in West and East Baltimore

The Maryland Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD) recently shared their plans to demolish a second round of vacant buildings under the Project CORE program. Since Project CORE (short for Creating Opportunities for Renewal and Enterprise) began last January, the program has supported the demolition around three hundred and seventy-five properties and granted around sixteen million in funding for community development projects. We may not find a new use for every vacant building in Baltimore but we want you to know what buildings Project CORE is tearing down and how can you share your comments.

613 S. Monroe Street, Baltimore

In the second year of Project CORE (known as Phase II), the state and Baltimore City are seeking to demolish one hundred and forty-nine buildings (grouped into thirty-eight “demolition clusters”). You can browse the list of demolition clusters in our open Google Sheet or with our interactive map. You can also see photographs of each demolition cluster on Flickr. You can compare this year’s properties to the list we shared last April before the first round of demolition.

1138 Mosher Street, Baltimore

If you look at our sheet, you can see demolition clusters in fifteen different neighborhoods. The largest number of clusters are in West Baltimore neighborhoods including Sandtown-Winchester, Upton, and Harlem Park (all part of the Old West Baltimore Historic District). In East Baltimore, affected neighborhoods include Broadway East, East Baltimore Midway, and Johnston Square. The vacant buildings are a mix of different ages, styles, and sizes. They include the one remaining building from the Alma Manufacturing Company; small, two-story alley houses on Mosher Street; early worker cottages on Lanvale Street; a distressed shingle-sided home in Arlington; and an unusual brick house on Franklintown Road.

78-84 S. Franklintown Road, Baltimore

Although DHCD administers Project CORE, Baltimore Housing selected these demolition clusters for the state. Last year, Baltimore Housing staff met with community groups and shared possible demolition clusters with residents. They also worked with the Baltimore City Department of Planning to collect feedback from residents on their priorities for demolition and community greening as part of the city’s new Green Network Plan.

The state’s preservation review process (commonly known as “Section 106”) gives Baltimore residents, preservation advocates, and community groups another opportunity to share comments or concerns on the proposed demolitions before the state can award funding to demolition contractors.

If you lead community organization affected by this program, we hope you can share any comments with DHCD by contacting Melissa Archer, Project Manager at melissa.archer2@maryland.gov.

We also want to hear your thoughts on Project CORE and these buildings. If we can find a new use for a vacant building, we might be able to avoid a demolition. Your feedback helps us continue to push for reinvestment in historic communities. You can share comments online or contact our director Johns Hopkins at hopkins@baltimoreheritage.org or 410-332-9992.

Finally, we want you to take a look at our new online resource for residents dealing with vacant buildings: Vacant Buildings 101. We are working with the Community Law Center to host workshops and publish an online guide to taking action on vacant buildings in your neighborhood. This program is supported by funding from Preservation Maryland and the Maryland Historical Trust through the Heritage Fund. Please take a look, share your comments, or sign up to join us at our next Vacant Buildings 101 workshop on March 25.

2858–2860 W. Lanvale Street, Baltimore, 21216

Fire devastates Public School 103 in Upton

Early this afternoon we got a call from a neighbor in Upton’s Marble Hill, alerting us that Public School 103, Thurgood Marshall’s elementary school, was on fire. The Baltimore City Fire Department is still working to contain the fire but the damage is clearly devastating. The roof is destroyed across large portions of the building and the interior has suffered terrible damage.

Photograph by Eli Pousson, 2016 April 6.
Photograph by Eli Pousson, 2016 April 6.

Public School 103 was built on Division Street in 1877. The school changed from serving white to black students in 1910 when it was first used for students from nearby Public School No. 112. In March 1911, the school was officially designated Public School 103. Thurgood Marshall began attending the school just three years later and continued as a student up through 8th grade in 1921. Today, many Baltimoreans remember it as the “Division Street School” or Henry Highland Garnet Elementary School. After the school closed in the early 1970s, the Upton Planning Committee moved in. The Upton Planning Committee continued to use the structure for arts and cultural programs and community meetings up until they vacated the building in the 1990s.

While the building had stood vacant for many years, Baltimore City and the Baltimore National Heritage Area had been working to promote the reuse and rehabilitation of the building. Building on the work of a Mayoral Commission established in 2008, the Heritage Area led efforts to repair the building’s roof and remove asbestos. Baltimore Housing solicited development proposals for the building last year as part of the Vacants to Value surplus surplus property sale.

Photograph by Eli Pousson, 2016 April 6.
Photograph by Eli Pousson, 2016 April 6.

 

Photograph by Eli Pousson, 2016 April 6.
Photograph by Eli Pousson, 2016 April 6.
Photograph by Eli Pousson, 2016 April 6.
Photograph by Eli Pousson, 2016 April 6.
Photograph by Eli Pousson, 2016 April 6.
Photograph by Eli Pousson, 2016 April 6.
Photograph by Eli Pousson, 2016 April 6.
Photograph by Eli Pousson, 2016 April 6.
Photograph by Eli Pousson, 2016 April 6.
Photograph by Eli Pousson, 2016 April 6.

Read more about today’s fire from the Baltimore Sun or read the PS 103 Commission reports for more on the history of the building. We are will continue working with the Baltimore National Heritage Area, Upton residents, and supporters of Baltimore’s Civil Rights heritage to preserve Public School 103 and recover from this difficult setback.

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Upton Mansion and Druid Health Center awarded to developers through the Vacants to Value Surplus Sale Find more development opportunities on our new interactive map

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.

baltimore_city-_development_opportunities_for_historic_properties_by_baltimore_heritage_02_05_2016_11_12_20

1232 Druid Hill Avenue is saved from demolition… for now Help us push to protect the King/Briscoe House and Baltimore's Civil Rights heritage

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 eric.costello@baltimorecity.gov.

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.

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