Baltimore’s Office of Cable & Communications, operators of the city’s CharmTV channel, will move its headquarters from downtown to Pennsylvania Avenue under a plan to strengthen Baltimore’s Black Arts District and the Penn North community.
Preliminary plans for the proposed headquarters were presented on Thursday to Baltimore’s Urban Design and Architecture Advisory Panel (UDAAP). They call for a 20,000-square-foot building at 2675 Pennsylvania Ave., just north of North Avenue and the Penn-North Metro station.
The building is a project of the Baltimore Development Corp.; the Baltimore Arts Realty Corporation (BARCO) and The Civic Group. PI.KL Studio is the architect.
BARCO executive director Leon Pinkett said the project has two major goals: “to address the immediate need for a new home for the Mayor’s Office of Cable & Communications (CharmTV),” now located near City Hall, and “to support the community development aspirations of the [Pennsylvania Avenue] corridor in a way that is inclusive, vibrant and serves as a catalyst for future development.”
The building would contain all of the spaces a television station needs to film, edit and broadcast programs, including production studios; an editing suite, administrative offices, storage areas for sets and equipment, a café, loading dock and eight parking spots. There would also be a “community incubator space” for government and non-government community-based events and programs.
PI.KL partner Pavlina Ilieva showed renderings of a two-story building, L-shaped in plan, with a gabled roof and graphics reading PENN NORTH. She said the exterior of the production wing may be a prefab steel structure and that a potential second phase of the project may contain residences and artists’ lofts.
The development team is aiming to start construction in 2024. Colin Tarbert, president and CEO of the BDC, said in a posting on social media that the project aligns with the city’s efforts to promote equitable development and uplift the city’s creative economy.
“This project will revitalize the area in the Black Arts District, fostering a hub for artists and entrepreneurs,” Tarbert said in his post. “It transforms a neglected site into an iconic anchor by creating space and programs where people can learn skills to participate in Baltimore’s thriving creative economy and providing technical resources for filmmakers to create, connect and grow.”