The Development, Real Estate, and Gentrification Beat

The Post Office Garage building. Photo by Brandon Block

-The historic building and notorious fraternity house at St. Paul and 30th streets, not far from Johns Hopkins, is currently looking for renters. In 2016, the three-story house, built in 1930, was sold to new owners. The building was entirely renovated and now contains 13 apartments across four floors starting at $900 and going up to $1350 and ranging from 345 square feet to 800 square feet. The building had been empty for the past couple of years leading up to the purchase and renovation after a 16 year-old girl was sexually assaulted at the then-Sigma Alpha Epsilon frathouse in the fall of 2014. For more information on rentals go to stpaulat30.com.

The Hotel Revival (1001 Monument St.), a boutique hotel from San Francisco’s Joie de Vivre, will open in Mount Vernon Place in the spring. It will feature a restaurant called Square Meal and a rooftop bar, Topside. And if you been walking around the midtown area, you have surely seen some “we’re hiring” fliers from Hotel Revival in restaurants, coffee places, and stores—so if you’re looking for a job or know of anybody who is, send them that way.

-City officials who arrived on Jan. 26 to clear out the people experiencing homelessness who have been living under 83 near Guilford Avenue and Bath Street were met by a mini-protest. “No housing, no peace,” people yelled, led by Kelvin Morris with homeless advocates such as Christina Flowers and Duane “Shorty” Davis present too. Mayor Catherine Pugh announced the space would be cleared two weeks ago but some of the people living there said they didn’t get the announcement. Many observed that the Volunteers of America Bridge Housing facility on the 5000 block of E. Monument Street, where they were offered housing, is far away from downtown and inconvenient for many of those who just had their belongings rounded up and trashed by the city.

-In early January, following the emergency evacuation and eviction of the Post Office Garage studios in Johnston Square, the Beat received a series of leaked emails which, well, mostly showed the city making progress. There was very little controversy in these emails, mostly due to the hard work of Amy Bonitz, a DIY Safe Art Space Task Force member and head of Baltimore Arts Realty Corp. (BARCO), who was on top of getting the evicted artists extra time to get into the space and articulating the specific problems these artists faced to a fairly clueless city. It’s rare that leaks aren’t damning, so shout out to Bonitz for her hard work here.

-The Beat received a few messages last week that observed that the Johnston Square area where the Post Office Garage is located and which developers have long had their eye on for “growth,” is, according to a Baltimore Business Journal story, about to be involved in a $15 million project that will add a 60-unit affordable housing development. “Just sayin’ . . . ,” one text read followed by an upside down smiley face emoji, suggesting the timing is not entirely coincidental. As is often the case when artists are kicked out of an area, however—even if in the case of the Post Office Garage, where it was an emergency evacuation—paranoia and speculation follow.

-Residents of The Munsey Building at the corner of Calvert and Fayette streets have filed a class-action lawsuit against the building’s owners for—among other things—air conditioning that hasn’t worked for the past three summers, no heat in winters, flooding, and mold—all this as the building is being presented to renters at luxury apartments. The lawsuit is seeking damages of $75,000 for 15 different counts tied to negligence, consumer protection violations, and more.

  • Tim Paggi

    Hold up, are you sure the apartment complex you speak of is slated for the old post office/artist studios between Preston and Biddle? I read the same report but located around the 700 block of Chase.

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