The six Formstone-clad row houses in the 2100 block of E. Madison Street are the sort of buildings that might have been torn down as part of the demolition spree that has consumed much of Baltimore.

Instead, they are being reborn as a model for a new kind of healthcare-related housing.

The vacant dwellings are being combined and renovated to become The UCF House, a “home away from home” that will provide free lodging and a supportive environment for young adult cancer patients receiving treatment in Baltimore.

Construction began last month on the $1 million project at 2108-2118 E. Madison Street, which is within the 88-acre footprint of the East Baltimore Development Inc. renewal area.

Doug Ulman, founder of the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults

The renovation is a project of the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults, a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1997 by Doug Ulman to support young adults affected by cancer and their loved ones.

This is the first residential facility that the Ulman Cancer Fund has built, and representatives say it has been 20 years in the making. They say the average cost for lodging for a young adult to stay in Baltimore the 100 required days after receiving a bone transplant is $10,000, and the UCF House is designed to help mitigate these costs.

“With treatment protocols that require young adults to stay near hospitals for long periods of time, housing can be crippling financially and prevents some young adults from receiving treatment at top-notch Baltimore hospitals,” said Brock Yetso, president and CEO of the nonprofit. “Our organization exists to remove barriers and drive change—for years we’ve wanted to make this home away from home for young adult cancer patients and their families a reality, and now it is becoming one.”

Baltimore already has residences for children receiving medical care, such as the Ronald McDonald House. What sets the UCF House apart is that it’s being created to help young adults, ages 15 to 39. Advocates say there are no facilities available for that age range at present.

“Young adult patients often age out of many other facilities or don’t find critical peer support at non-age specific facilities,” Yetso explained. “The UCF House will create a community for these young adults that fosters peer and social support, decreases financial and other burdens, and encourages hope and healing.”

The project involves connecting the six row houses into one larger building. The UCF House will contain eight family suites for patients and caregivers, communal living and dining spaces, a fitness area, a relaxation space, a library, a backyard and a roof deck.

The UCF House will be available to patients receiving cancer treatment anywhere in the region, including Johns Hopkins Medicine, the University of Maryland Medical Center, Walter Reed and other institutions. Patients will be able to live there anywhere from three days to 100 days.

The Madison Street houses are about 100 years old. Ulman worked with East Baltimore Development Inc. to acquire five of the six and purchased the other one separately. NW2 is the architect and Jon Cole Builders is the builder.

Besides the building expenses, the UCF House will cost $200,000 to operate each year. In 2016, UCF launched a capital campaign to raise $3 million. The campaign has three priorities: to build the house and raise funds to operate it for the first three years, increase the organization’s endowment and enhance existing programming for young adults and families affected by cancer.

So far, the organization has raised approximately $2.5 million, and that was enough to move ahead with construction. The UCF House is scheduled to open in the fall of 2017 and is expected to serve more than 200 families a year.

Downtown office tower up for auction

One of the office towers planned during the Schaefer era at 7 St. Paul Street is scheduled to be sold in a foreclosure sale at 11 a.m. on Feb. 9 on the steps of the Clarence Mitchell Jr. Courthouse. The 19-story tower that replaced the old Union Trust headquarters contains about 377,000 square feet of space. Alex Cooper Auctioneers is handling the sale.

Ceremony Coffee coming to Harbor Point

A branch of Ceremony Coffee is opening at Harbor Point, and it will allowed to serve alcohol. Baltimore’s liquor board approved a request from applicants Vincent Iottesta Jr. and Erissa Mann, trading as CP Limited, to open a restaurant with a liquor license at 1312 Point Street, at the base of the Exelon Tower, as long as they can show they are making a capital investment of least $500,000 and will seat at least 75 people.

This will be the third Ceremony Coffee location. The company also has locations in Annapolis and at 520 Park Avenue in Baltimore. Schamu, Machowski + Patterson is the architect for the Harbor Point project.

Samantha Juengel becomes sole owner of Golden West Café in Hampden

Samantha Juengel has become the sole owner of Golden West Café at 1105 W. 36th Street in Hampden. She told Baltimore’s liquor board last week that she has bought out her partner in the restaurant and wants to keep operating the business by herself. The liquor board approved her request to modify the liquor permit to reflect that she is the sole owner.

Hampden’s Arthouse transfers liquor license

The Arthouse, a pizza bar and art gallery that has controlled two properties in Hampden, is consolidating to one spot. Baltimore’s liquor board approved a request from operators Joan Dolina and Randy Shayotovich to transfer their liquor license from 3626A Falls Road to 1115 W. 36th Street.

The Cove at Citron opens

The Cove at Citron, a private events venue and party space, has opened next to Citron Restaurant and Bar at 2605 Quarry Lake Drive in Baltimore County. Both are ventures of longtime caterer and event planner Charles Levine.

Demolition begins on former Bradford Federal building

Demolition has begun on the former Bradford Federal Savings and Loan building at York Road and Regester Avenue in Rodgers Force. The building is being torn down to make way for a branch of Starbucks.

Mayor Catherine Pugh not certain if she will join the National Aquarium’s board

The National Aquarium reserves a seat on its board of directors for the mayor of Baltimore or one of the mayor’s representatives. Former Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was on the board.

Asked at an aquarium event last week if she will join the board, Pugh indicated she has not decided. The mayor said she wants the mayoral position to be filled by someone who will go to the aquarium’s meetings and be an active board member. Noting that the aquarium is a key engine of economic development for the city, she indicated she may ask one of the city’s economic development officials to serve on the board if she doesn’t.

Ed Gunts is a local freelance writer and the former architecture critic for The Baltimore Sun.

2 replies on “A New Housing Model in East Baltimore, Downtown Office Tower Up for Auction, Ceremony Coffee Coming to Harbor Point”

  1. Are you aware of the huge community opposition of the proposed Starbucks drive thru at the former Bradford Bank? Over 200 community children cross at that intersection every day, twice a day, five days a week, ten months a year. A drive thru at that location is a serious safety risk. And who thought it would be a good idea to open a busy restaurant 50 feet from a bunch of people’s homes? Neither Starbucks nor the Developer bothered to get community input and our elected officials have let us down. Interesting that Kamenetz received at least $6500 in donations from the Developer.

    1. Backward looking Parisians shared your sentiments about the Eifell Tower when it was under construction.

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