The proposed Innovation Center to replace the demolished apartments, Courtesy AB Associates

Today, the governor, the mayor and community officials gathered to bid farewell to the Madison Park North Apartments, a former subsidized housing complex off of North Avenue in Reservoir Hill once called the “Murder Mall” of Baltimore.

As we noted yesterday, Gov. Larry Hogan, Mayor Catherine Pugh, Maryland Housing and Community Development Secretary Kenneth C. Holt and other officials met at the site not only to kick off demolition of the derelict apartments, but also to announce the recipients of a portion of Project C.O.R.E. funding being handed out next year. The money will be used to tear down vacant properties being managed by Maryland Stadium Authority and the city. Today’s announcement was for $16 million in funding for 30 projects around the city, though there will be three more years of funding totaling $75 million, $18.5 of which is coming from Baltimore City.

The governor’s office announced today that the site of the old apartments will eventually be built into an “Innovation Center” that will be a nucleus for an entire 6.8-square-mille district to occupy West Central Baltimore. Officials have high hopes for that swath of territory, saying the area extending eastward from Coppin State University to MICA and north from Mondawmin Mall to Martin Luther King Boulevard will become a “smart city” with free WiFi and access to jobs and opportunities.

Officials said they picked the 30 recipient projects from a pool of a total of 77 project applications proposed by 36 city agencies and nonprofits.

The demolition work was previously discussed in community meetings and was slated to begin this year before Stephanie Rawlings-Blake finished up her term as mayor, but was delayed until after Mayor Catherine Pugh took office. Pugh said in a statement today that she is “committed to building from strength in every zip code” and called it “an honor to join Governor Hogan to begin this process with today’s award recipients.”

The governor’s office has made a map of the proposed demolition and renewal projects available here.

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...