Baltimore Approves Main Street Redevelopment Projects

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor The Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) announced on August 31 that it has obtained the approval of Baltimore’s Board of Estimates for two deals that will each bring a new development project to the Main Street communities [...]

The Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) announced on August 31 that it has obtained the approval of Baltimore’s Board of Estimates for two deals that will each bring a new development project to the Main Street communities of Pennsylvania Avenue in Druid Heights and Washington Boulevard in Pigtown. Both projects are the result of a BDC-conducted Request for Proposals (RFP) process on behalf of the City of Baltimore.

Through BDC, the city is selling five adjacent  properties located at 2101, 2103, 2105, 2107 and 2111 Pennsylvania Avenue to Sphinx Club Complex LLC, for $13,000. The buyer plans to develop a mixed-use project that will include a full-service restaurant—the Negro League Cafea, Negro League Museum – B.A.L.L. (Black Athletes and Lost Legends) House and a business incubator to facilitate new business growth in the community.

Located in the center of the Main Street district, the Pennsylvania Avenue properties have been vacant for more than 15 years. The project  is estimated at $4.1 million, will generate new real estate, payroll and utility tax revenues of approximately $2.6 million over 20 years for the City and will create 37 full-time permanent jobs. It will also help the community capitalize on the growing Heritage Tourism industry.

Meanwhile, Historic Pigtown Development II LLC bought five properties, at 925 through 937 Washington Blvd., for $1. The developers plan to turn 925 and 927 Washington Boulevard into residential units and demolish 929-937 Washington Boulevard, to provide open space until tenants and financing are secured for a mixed-use retail/residential development. Phase I project costs have been approximated at over $500,000.

The Washington Boulevard properties have been vacant for more than 25 years. According to the BDC, the Historic Pigtown project will generate new tax revenues estimated at more than $41,000 over 20 years in the form of real estate, payroll and utility taxes and create eight full-time construction jobs.

Since 2000, Pennsylvania Avenue and Pigtown are two of Baltimore’s 10 designated Main Street redevelopment communities. Belair-Edison, Brooklyn, East Monument Street, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Hamilton-Lauraville, Highlandtown and Waverly are the others. Baltimore has the second largest urban Main Streets program in the United States.  BDC directs the BMS program on behalf of the City of Baltimore.