Developers selected for two key parcels at Clipper Mill, including the historic Tractor Building

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The outside of the Tractor Building in Woodberry. Photo by Ed Gunts.

Will the cavernous Tractor Building at Clipper Mill survive the latest wave of development in the historic mill community?

That question is likely to be addressed in the next week, when developers meet with community residents to provide an update on their latest plans.

Valstone Partners, the new owner for much of the land at Clipper Mill, recently notified the Woodberry Community Association that it has selected developers for two key parcels that will kick off a new round of construction at Clipper Mill.

Peter Garver, of Garver Development Group in Mount Washington, has been chosen to build on a surface lot at 2001 Druid Park Drive, an area targeted for new housing. One of Garver’s most recent projects was the Highland Haus apartments that replaced Haussner’s Restaurant in East Baltimore. He also oversaw conversion of the former Rouse Company headquarters in Columbia to a Whole Foods Market and other uses.

A company called Commercial Development has been selected to be the developer of the Tractor Building, which stands across the street from Woodberry Kitchen and other tenants in recycled mill buildings. Headed by Kevin Johnson, Commercial Development is currently building 296 apartments and street level commercial space on the site of the former Hendler ice cream plant, a $75 million project, also in East Baltimore.

The Tractor Building and 2001 Druid Park Drive are two of at least four parcels at Clipper Mill that are controlled by Valstone Partners and available for development. In all, Valstone owns nearly eight acres at the nearly 18-acre Clipper Mill complex, which dates from the 19th century.

Valstone representatives have said they do not plan to develop the parcels themselves, but want to select others to develop them in keeping with what is allowed by local zoning. They have hired Martin Marren of Marren Architects to develop a conceptual plan showing how new housing, commercial space and parking could be added to the existing community, which is within easy walking distance of the Woodberry light rail station.

According to a notice that the Woodberry Community Association posted on Facebook, Caroline Paff of VI Development, which is working with Valstone, notified the group that Valstone plans to subdivide the property to create separate lots for development by different teams. As part of that process, it also plans to set aside a “forest conservation lot” that won’t be developed.

Asked this week for more information about the two named developers and their plans, Paff did not disclose any more than what the WCA shared in its post online.

Reached by email, Woodberry Community Association President Sheri Higgins did not address the specifics of the two chosen developers’ plans, but said the upcoming meeting is important for the community, and she encourages residents to attend.

The Tractor Building has drawn a great deal of interest because it is one of the last large buildings at Clipper Mill that hasn’t already been redeveloped, and it adds to the community’s historic character but isn’t a protected landmark.

A conceptual plan that Marren presented to the community last year called for the shell of the Tractor Building to be preserved and new housing to be built within and above it.

The community is meeting with the developers on Thursday, Jan. 17, to hear about the proposed subdivision plan and preview early designs for 2001 Druid Park Drive. It will be the third open meeting with the developers in the past year.

It’s scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. at Shiloh United Church in Woodberry.

This story has been corrected to reflect that Valstone owns approximately eight acres of the nearly 18-acre Clipper Mill complex. We regret the error.

Ed Gunts

Ed Gunts is a local freelance writer and the former architecture critic for The Baltimore Sun.
Ed Gunts


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