Developer Recommended for Five City-Owned Properties on Howard Street

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Five vacant buildings along Howard Street would be recycled as “Howard Row,” a mixed-use development containing 39 market-rate apartments and five storefronts at street level, under a plan selected today by the Baltimore Development Corporation.

After receiving five proposals in a competitive bidding process, the economic development agency voted in closed session to recommend that a team headed by the Poverni Sheikh Group of Baltimore be allowed to purchase and redevelop the city-owned properties at 407, 409, 411, 413 and 415 N. Howard Street.

The recommendation will be forwarded to Mayor Catherine Pugh’s office. If she agrees with the BDC, the Board of Estimates will be asked to approve a sale.

BDC president and CEO Bill Cole said Poverni Sheikh Group’s proposal was judged to be better than the others submitted. “The board felt that it was the best comprehensive project for the city,” he said after the board came out of its closed session.

The developer offered to pay $75,000 for the five buildings, which are in poor condition, and complete the renovations by the second quarter of 2019. Poverni Sheikh Group picked Charles Belfoure as the designer.

Cole said the purchase price is subject to further negotiation, if the mayor’s office chooses to accept the proposal. A total figure for the cost of rehabbing the buildings was not disclosed.

Before making its recommendation, the BDC board was told the agency received five proposals ahead of an April 10 bidding deadline, and three were considered responsive and presented to the staff for further evaluation.

The two other finalists were:

  • “Howard Station,” an adaptive reuse of all five buildings as 20 live/work artist units and four ground-floor “shells” for restaurant tenants. The development proposed an outdoor “performance garden facing Tyson Street. Michael Hunter of the Washington Baltimore Development Com;pany submitted the proposal and offered to pay $50,000 for the five properties. Cho Benn Holback was listed as the architect.
  • And “Art Safe,” the conversion of 409 N. Howard Street to a street-level commercial space, a performance space and five live/work lofts for artists. Cho Benn Holback would be the architect. The developer would be Doreen Bolger, former director of the Baltimore Museum of Art. She offered $35,000 for the one building.

Ethan McLeod
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