Resignation of the Director of the Convention Center; $50 million investment at Harford Road; more – Baltimore Fishbowl | Candle Made Easy

The Maryland Center for History and Culture has applied to separate two brick buildings on Block 600 of North Howard Street from the rest of the center’s campus. Photo by Ed Gunts.

A year after selling the former Greyhound bus terminal for redevelopment, the Maryland Center for History and Culture is parting with another lot on Howard Street.

This time, it’s a pair of brick buildings on the 600 block of North Howard Street, originally used as commercial properties and most recently as storage by the non-profit history center formerly known as the Maryland Historical Society.

The Baltimore planning commission is scheduled to consider this week a proposal to subdivide the Howard Street property from the rest of the Maryland Center for History and Culture campus so it can be converted into nine apartments.

The proposal, which is on the commission’s approval agenda, marks the second time in two years that the Maryland Center for History and Culture has downsized its campus after relocating the former Greyhound bus terminal at 601 N. Howard Street to Baltimore in May 2021 SquashWise had sold .

The request for a “minor subdivision” 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.

The brick buildings are located on the east side of Howard Street from the former bus station to Monument Street, just steps from a light rail station. Because the buildings were used for storage and have no openings to Howard Street, they add little life to the corridor, creating something of a 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 list.

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 required to allow the Howard Street estate to be transferred to a new owner.

(Above) A photograph shows the condition of an existing building at Block 600 of North Howard Street. (Bottom) An overlay of this photo shows what the building will look like once it has been cleaned and its windows restored. Images courtesy of Encore Sustainable Architects.

The developer is Alan Garada and the architects are Ward Bucher and Joseph Wojciechowski of Encore Sustainable Architects. A selling price was not announced.

The commission meeting begins Thursday, July 21 at 1:00 pm at 417 E. Fayette St. Because the property is in a historic district, any exterior changes to the building would need approval from the Baltimore Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation.

The planning commission’s agenda listed the land to be subdivided as 201 W. Monument St., home to the Enoch Pratt House, the former home of wealthy merchant and philanthropist Enoch Pratt and also part of the history campus.

Pratt is affiliated 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 conservation 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 well-known architect Edmund Lind, he added a marble portico and a fourth floor with a mansard-style roof.

Enoch Pratt died in 1896 and his wife remained at home 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 House.

More subdivisions

The Howard Street parcel is one of four in the city that owners plan to subdivide for the redevelopment.

The Planning Commission is also due Thursday to consider applications for subdivision of lots in the 1900 block at South Hanover Street (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 vicarage into six apartments); and the 1500 block of East Pratt Street (for a portion of the 67-apartment, 34-parking Perkins Homes Phase II development.)

MCB Real Estate invests $50 million in Harford Road

MCB Real Estate’s housing project at Block 4500 of Harford Road will represent a $50 million investment, Representative Amy Bonitz said in a recent virtual briefing with members of the Lauraville Improvement Association.

Plans unveiled last month call for a four-story, 147-unit apartment building that will house around 400 to 450 people and is expected to be completed in 2025. A second phase involves the redevelopment of a historic building on the site called the Markley Building. Monument preservationist Dale Green is examining the history of the Markley Building to determine the best use for it, Bonitz said.

Peggy Daidakis resigns 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 her 49-year tenure with the 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 directed Daidakis as 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 appointed her executive director, making her the first female director of a national convention center in the United States.

During her tenure, Daidakis helped expand the convention center to three times its original size, making it the largest convention and exhibition venue in Maryland. She manages more than 150 full-time employees. 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 determine her successor.

Red Emma is almost ready to open

The wait for a new Red Emma’s Bookstore Coffeehouse is over.

The operators of the store at 3128 Greenmount Ave. in Waverly have begun planning book launches and other on-site gatherings to prepare for the grand opening.

On July 20th at 7:00 p.m. there will be a book presentation with Dr. Zackary Berger, author of Health for Everyone: A Guide to Politically and Socially Progressive Healthcare. On September 22nd they will welcome Psyche A. Williams-Forson and talk about her book Eating While Black: Food Shaming and Race in America.

The Greenmount Avenue store will replace Red Emma’s former 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,” reads an announcement sent Tuesday in conjunction with this week’s book launch. “It will happen very soon.”

Jimmy Rouse at the Village of Cross Keys

In the 1960s, developer James Rouse established the mixed-use community called 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 that decade .

This month one of Rouse’s sons, artist Jimmy Rouse, is coming to Cross Keys with a solo show of his paintings, prints and woodcuts. The exhibition opens on July 25th and runs through October 21st in the gallery space of Monument Sotheby’s International Realty Office, 42 Village Square at Cross Keys, 5100 Falls Road. The opening hours of the gallery are Monday to Friday, 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. There will be a reception with the artist 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 gated community at 4700 Riverstone Drive in Baltimore County, was sold to Carter Funds for $92.9 million. The seller was Continental Realty, which bought it in 2016 for $61.6 million.

Zoom meeting on property tax cut proposal

On Wednesday, July 20 at 6:00 p.m., Jubilee Baltimore will host a Zoom forum on a proposal to reduce property taxes in Baltimore City. The forum is designed to give people an opportunity to learn about the petition for the grassroots referendum to amend the Baltimore City Charter this November.

Presenter is Charles Duff, President of Jubilee Baltimore. Speakers are Andre Davis, a Renew Baltimore representative, who supports the proposal, and John Kern of the Stop Oppressive Seizures (SOS) Fund, who opposes it. This is followed by panelists’ questions and a general Q&A phase. Here is a link to the meeting, which is expected to last an hour.

Ed Gunts

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