MICA to Invest $18.5 Million in Student Housing Projects

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor The Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) has announced it will break ground in late fall on a $16.5 million student housing expansion project. The addition will help MICA provide housing for more than half its undergraduates and will also lead the revitalization of Baltimore’s North Avenue corridor and northern [...]

The Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) has announced it will break ground in late fall on a $16.5 million student housing expansion project. The addition will help MICA provide housing for more than half its undergraduates and will also lead the revitalization of Baltimore’s North Avenue corridor and northern Bolton Hill.

Known as the Commons II, the building will be an addition to the Commons and will be located at 120 McMechen St. in Bolton Hill. It will stand five stories high with 62 apartments. The Commons II will accommodate about 240 students, replacing a parking lot situated along North Avenue west of Mount Royal Avenue. Plans also include a multifunctional black box performance space, a tiered lecture hall and artist studios with a landscaped plaza and parking outside.

Baltimore’s Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation approved the plans for the 88,000-square-foot Commons II in May. Hord Coplan Macht is the project’s architect. Commons II will serve as a connector between Bolton Hill and the Station North Arts & Entertainment District. On the side facing North Avenue, the building will feature a brick facade that will complement Bolton Hill’s historic rowhouses. The other side, facing the Commons, will have a more contemporary design.

MICA opened its first large residence for students 20 years ago. With the Commons II, the college will offer on-campus housing for more than 1,000 students. The facility is expected to open in 2013. It will seek certification from the Baltimore City Green Building Standards.

In addition to the expansion project, MICA is also planning a $2 million renovation of the Commons complex. This project will be completed by the end of 2013. It calls for a laundry center, cafe lounge, mailboxes and possibly an exhibition space to be added, as well as connections to Commons II. Ayers Saint Gross is the architect. The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company is the contractor for the Commons project with Lazarus Design Associates as the landscape designer. Both the construction and renovations will be financed by bonds.

Rendering courtesy of Hord Coplan Macht.