A year after selling the former Greyhound Bus Station for redevelopment, the Maryland Center for History and Culture is parting ways with another parcel on Howard Street.
This time it’s two brick buildings in the 600 block of North Howard Street that started out as commercial properties and have recently been used as storage by the non-profit history center, formerly known as Maryland Historical Society.
The Baltimore Planning Commission is due to consider an application this week to subdivide the Howard Street property from the rest of the Maryland Center for History and Culture campus so it can be redeveloped into nine apartments.
The proposal, on the committee’s consent agenda, marks the second time in two years that the Maryland Center for History and Culture has decided to downsize its campus, after selling the former Greyhound bus station to the 601 N. Howard Street at Baltimore SquashWise in May 2021. .
The “minor subdivision” request comes less than a year after the Walters Art Museum sold apartment buildings at 606, 608 and 610 Cathedral Street to a private developer, Chasen Companies, for continued residential use.
Brick buildings occupy the east side of Howard Street from the old bus station to Monument Street, a short walk from a light rail stop. Because the buildings were used for storage and have no openings onto Howard Street, they add little life to the hallway, creating a sort of dead zone between Antique Row to the north and Market Center to the south. The proposed development will bring more activity to the area while the sale will add buildings to the city’s tax roll.
The Maryland Center for History and Culture occupies most of the city block bounded by Monument, Howard, and Center streets and Park Avenue. The subdivision is necessary in order to transfer ownership of Howard Street to a new owner.
The developer is Alan Garada and the architects are Ward Bucher and Joseph Wojciechowski of Encore Sustainable Architects. A sale price has not been disclosed.
The commission meeting begins Thursday, July 21 at 1 p.m. at 417 E. Fayette St. Because the property is in a historic district, any alterations to the exterior of the building require approval from the Baltimore Commission for historical and architectural preservation.
On the agenda of the planning commission, the land to be subdivided was listed at 201 W. Monument St., which is the location of the Enoch Pratt House, former home of wealthy merchant and philanthropist Enoch Pratt and also part of the history campus.
Pratt is associated with several local institutions, including the First Unitarian Church of Baltimore, Sheppard Pratt Hospital, and the Enoch Pratt Free Library.
According to Baltimore Heritage, a preservation advocacy group, Pratt began building a three-story mansion at 201 W. Monument St. for himself and his wife in 1844, the same year the Maryland Historical Society was founded. In 1868, in collaboration with the famous architect Edmund Lind, he added a marble portico and a fourth floor with a mansard roof.
Enoch Pratt died in 1896, and his wife remained in the house until her death in 1911. The Maryland Historical Society acquired the property in 1919.
Mark Letzer, president and CEO of the Maryland Center for History and Culture, said his organization has no plans to sell the Enoch Pratt home.
The Howard Street parcel is one of four in the city that the owners want to subdivide for redevelopment.
The planning commission is also due to consider applications for the development of properties in the 1900 block of South Hanover Street on Thursday (for 270 apartments and a 396-space garage); the 900 block of South Elwood Street (for the construction of nine single-family homes and the conversion of a former church rectory into six apartments); and the 1500 block of East Pratt Street (for part of the Perkins Homes Phase II development, containing 67 apartments and 34 parking spaces.)
MCB Real Estate invests $50 million in Harford Road
MCB Real Estate’s apartment project in the 4500 block of Harford Road will be a $50 million investment, Representative Amy Bonitz said during a recent virtual briefing with members of the Lauraville Improvement Association.
Plans unveiled last month call for a four-story, 147-unit building that can accommodate around 400 to 450 people and is expected to be completed in 2025. A second phase involves the redevelopment of a historic structure on the site called the Markley Building. Historic curator Dale Green is researching the history of the Markley building to help determine the best use for it, Bonitz said.
Peggy Daidakis steps down as executive director of the Baltimore Convention Center
Peggy Daidakis will step down as executive director of the Baltimore Convention Center on September 1, ending 49 years with Baltimore city government.
Daidakis joined former mayor William Donald Schaefer’s staff in 1973 and served in his administration for four years. In 1978, Schaefer commissioned Daidakis to be part of the team that opened the convention center in 1979, with Eugene Beckerle as its first director. In 1986, former mayor Clarence “Du” Burns named her executive director, making her the first female director of a national convention center in the United States.
During his tenure, Daidakis helped the convention center expand so that it is now three times its original size, making it the largest meeting and exhibit venue in Maryland. . She oversees a full-time team of over 150 people. In 2013, she was inducted into the Convention Industry Council’s Hall of Leaders, one of the highest honors in the hospitality industry.
Deputy Mayor Ted Carter will work with the city’s human resources department to identify his successor.
Red Emma is almost ready to open
The wait for a new Red Emma’s Bookstore cafe is almost over.
The operators of the store at 3128 Greenmount Ave. at Waverly began planning book launches and other on-site gatherings, in preparation for its grand opening.
On July 20 at 7 p.m., they’re hosting a book launch with Dr. Zackary Berger, author of “Health for Everyone: A Guide to Politically and Socially Progressive Healthcare.” On September 22, they will host Psyche A. Williams-Forson, speaking about her book “Eating While Black: Food Shaming and Race in America”.
The Greenmount Avenue store replaces Red Emma’s previous location at 1225 Cathedral St. According to Red Emma’s website, it will officially open in late summer.
“We can’t wait to open for food, coffee and books,” said an announcement sent Tuesday about this week’s book launch. “It will happen very soon.”
Jimmy Rouse at Cross Keys Village
In the 1960s, developer James Rouse created the mixed-use community known as The Village of Cross Keys off the 5100 block of Falls Road in Baltimore as a prototype for the much larger “New Town” of Columbia, Maryland which he launched later in the decade.
This month, one of Rouse’s sons, artist Jimmy Rouse, comes to Cross Keys with a solo exhibition of his paintings, prints and woodcuts. The exhibition will open July 25 and run through October 21 in the gallery space of Monument Sotheby’s International Realty office, 42 Village Square at Cross Keys, 5100 Falls Road. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A reception with the artist will be held on Thursday, August 18, from 4 to 6 p.m.
Riverstone at Owings Mills sells for $92.9 million
Riverstone at Owings Mills, a 324-unit apartment community at 4700 Riverstone Drive in Baltimore County, was sold for $92.9 million to Carter Funds. The seller was Continental Realty, which bought it in 2016 for $61.6 million.
Zoom meeting on the property tax reduction proposal
On Wednesday, July 20 at 6 p.m., Jubilee Baltimore will host a Zoom forum regarding a proposed property tax reduction in the City of Baltimore. The forum is intended to give people a way to learn about the popular petition effort for the referendum to amend Baltimore’s city charter in November.
Charles Duff, president of Jubilee Baltimore, will be the moderator. Speakers will be Andre Davis, a representative of Renew Baltimore, speaking in support of the proposal, and John Kern of the Stop Oppressive Seizures (SOS) Fund, who will speak in opposition. Questions from the panelists and a general Q&A period will follow. Here is a link to the meeting, which is expected to last an hour.