Designs unveiled for eight-story office building at Grand Central site

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The planned design for City House Charles at 1001-1003 N. Charles Street. Design by SM+P Architects, via CHAP.

The corner of N. Charles and E. Eager streets in Mount Vernon will be vastly different under newly released plans from developer Landmark Partners, though locals may notice the familiar base that presently houses the Grand Central nightclub.

Plans for City House Charles, shared with Baltimore Fishbowl today by Baltimore’s Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation, show Landmark plans to paint the two combined rowhouses at 1001-1003 N. Charles Street a light color–it looks white, though Landmark Partners co-principal Jon Pannoni clarified that it’ll be “somewhere between an off-white or a lighter grey”—with black shutters and trim and large windows, part of an overall more modern look.

The view from N. Charles Street for City House Charles. Design by SM+P Architects, via CHAP.

And there will be a new glass atrium inside the base structures, spanning all three floors. “We wanted to allow a lot of light into the building to really create an energetic feel,” said George Watson, also a co-principal in Landmark Partners.

Three floors above the street level will have balconies, with glass windows connecting the two base rowhomes. There will be five stories of glass-fronted offices above that, for a total of eight stories, some with additional balconies. The main level, nearly 6,000 square feet, will have space for a restaurant tenant as well as a retailer. Office spaces for the upper seven stories range from around 3,300 square feet to nearly 5,200 square feet.

For the restaurant, Pannoni said they’re in talks with “a few different operators,” but “right now we’re not far enough along that we’re ready to share anything.” He did assure it won’t be a chain of any kind.

The view from Eager Street for City House Charles. Design by SM+P Architects, via CHAP.

SM+P Architects, located on Cathedral Street in Mount Vernon, is the architect on the project.

Designs submitted by Landmark Partners to CHAP, available for download here, note a planned hearing date of May 14. Historic preservation planner Caitlin Audette said in an email that the project will likely get a hearing that day, but the agenda isn’t final just yet.

Watson and Pannoni’s firm purchased the current home of Grand Central from Don Davis for $1.4 million in late February, and had already contacted CHAP about their plans to demolish rear portions of the property to build an office tower.

CHAP has authority to review the plans because the property is in a city-designated historic district, and any changes to building exteriors must be approved by the commission.

Pannoni said they’ve met with the Mount Vernon Belvedere Association’s subcommittees for architectural review and development. “We’ve worked closely with them to make sure that we have their support and we’re being thoughtful about our approach.”

Watson said they’ve also been in touch with customers at Grand Central, which has been a stalwart nightspot since 1991 and is Baltimore’s largest gay nightclub. He said the bar and its patrons have been “great stewards” of the property, and “we want to be thoughtful to them” as well.

Grand Central will remain open on the ground floor until construction kicks off. Landmark doesn’t plan to start demolition and building for the office tower until City House Charles is at least 60 percent leased.

Pannoni and Watson will be presenting their plans tonight at a community meeting at Hotel Revival at 101 W. Monument St.

Landmark Partners is the developer behind a similarly named co-working space at 6 E. Eager Street, as well as the planned Guardian House apartments along S. Gay Street near the Inner Harbor.

Additional reporting by Ed Gunts.

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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in CityLab, Slate, Baltimore City Paper, DCist and elsewhere.
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