The Walters Art Museum is officially out of the rental apartment business.
The museum has completed its sale of three apartment buildings it owned at 606, 608 and 610 Cathedral St., just west of its main campus in Mount Vernon.
An affiliate of Chasen Companies, a Baltimore-based construction and development firm, now controls all three buildings, containing 28 apartments. Chasen has named the properties The Lyn and listed them on its website. Monthly rents range from $1,050 for a studio to $3,000 for a three-bedroom apartment, according to apartments.com.
Working with Harbor Stone Advisors, the museum put the buildings up for sale in the spring of 2021, with museum leaders saying they wanted to use the funds to support the museum’s arts-related programs and initiatives. The list price for the package was $3.075 million, or nearly $110,000 per unit.
Museum trustee Peter Bain confirmed that the sale has been completed. He declined to disclose the sale price.
According to state land records, the Trustees of The Walters Art Museum sold the buildings in January to a series of LLCs corresponding to the property addresses: CC 606 Cathedral Street LLC; CC 608 Cathedral Street LLC and CC 610 Cathedral Street. State land records list the sales as “non arms length other” and give the prices as $0.
The three buildings were then transferred in April to an entity named CC The Lyn LLC, according to state land records. The land records list those transactions as “non arms length other” and give the prices as $0. The mailing address for CC The Lyn LLC is listed as 12 West Montgomery St. in Baltimore.
Chasen has commercial properties in Harbor East, Fells Point, Mount Vernon, Federal Hill and Downtown, according to its website.
Its other Mount Vernon and Mount Vernon-adjacent properties include The Tobee at 311 St. Paul St.; The Courtland at 415 St. Paul St.; The Calvert at 1122 N. Calvert St.; The James at 211 St. Paul St.; The Regency at 1021 St. Paul St. and 1210 N. Calvert Street; The Chateaus de Mount Vernon at 1012, 1020, 1022, 1026 and 1038 N. Calvert St.; Park Place at 807 and 838-840 Park Ave.; Washington House at 13 E. Read St. and 930 and 938 N. Calvert St.; 300 Cathedral and The Suites at St. Paul, at 902-904 St. Paul St., 115 E. Eager St. and 1005 N. Charles St..
One of Chasen’s largest current development projects is the conversion to residential use of the historic Meyer Seed Company property at 600 S. Caroline St., between Harbor East and Fells Point. Chasen plans to combine the Meyer property with a parcel at 1400 Aliceanna St. and create The Whitney, a 272-unit apartment project with 70,000 square feet of retail space. It also plans to convert an office building called One Calvert Plaza to 173 apartments with street-level commercial space.
The three buildings on Cathedral Street date from around 1900. The museum acquired them between 1999 and 2006, initially with the idea of tearing them down for new construction. It paid $400,000 for 606 Cathedral St. in 1999; $745,000 for 610 Cathedral St. in 2000, and $535,000 for 608 Cathedral St. in 2006, according to land records.
Then-director Gary Vikan was working with architect James Polshek during that period to develop a strategic plan to guide future growth of the museum’s campus, but the institution didn’t move ahead with any major construction on the west side of Cathedral Street.
One reason the demolition didn’t move ahead is that the three buildings are part of the city’s Mount Vernon historic district and any demolition plans would have needed approval from the city’s Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation. Any exterior changes proposed by the new owner also are subject to approval from the preservation commission.
Editor’s note: Baltimore Fishbowl founding editor and publisher Susan G. Dunn is a board member of the Walters Art Museum.