Photo via Baltimore Development Corporation

The quasi-public nonprofit Baltimore Development Corporation is soliciting development ideas for four historic buildings in a neglected stretch downtown.

The request for proposals, issued today, calls for a single development team to re-do four properties situated at 17, 19 and 23 S. Gay Street, and 10 S. Frederick Street. The three vacant Gay Street buildings — two are five stories and one is four stories — are located in the Business and Government Historic District, surrounded by a mix of offices, parking garages and low-rise structures. The fourth property on S. Frederick Street is a surface parking lot used by city police.

Whichever developer or development team takes it on will be required to keep certain architectural components and structures intact and “preserve the character of the neighborhood,” among other requirements.

As for the perks, whichever team is selected will be eligible for tax credits, including a 10-year High Performance Tax Credit for market-rate rental housing (with a 20-rental unit minimum), Enterprise Zone tax credits, the Historical and Architectural Preservation Tax Credit and credits from the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives program.

The four-parcel area sits three blocks from the Inner Harbor, which has been heavily developed over decades as some nearby downtown blocks have remained vacant or shielded from commercial improvements. It’s also about a half-block south of The Block, the city’s renowned downtown hub of sex shops, bars and strip clubs.

All proposals are due Friday, Nov. 17.

Ethan McLeod is a freelance reporter in Baltimore. He previously worked as an editor for the Baltimore Business Journal and Baltimore Fishbowl. His work has appeared in Bloomberg CityLab, Next City and...