Diamond In The Rough: 8,000 Square Foot, Unfinished Loft On Hollins Street

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HOT HOUSE: 1008 Hollins Street, Baltimore 21223

Circa 1871 New York style loft building, former livery stable, then fruit warehouse in SoWeBo (Southwest Baltimore). Zoned commercial/industrial. Partly heated, rudimentary kitchen and bathroom. 8,000 sq. ft. with skylights, rope-operated freight elevator, remote control door: $575,000

What: A jaw-dropping, raw, Tribecca brand of loft space, one of the few left here in Baltimore. Originally a livery stable for a large undertaking operation on Baltimore Street, some of the interior wood has had a former life as caskets. The owner, an artist in the film industry, is half-hearted about selling. He has great plans (and materials) for a sweeping staircase, a reading loft and more. It was “very raw” space when he acquired it, 15 years ago, and served as party/performance space through the 90’s.

Still unfinished by most standards, he’s installed plumbing, new windows, and a giant triple-insulated skylight with a prism that attracts light to the interior in winter and refracts it in the summer. There are just enough amenities to support life, (stove, bathtub and toilet) if you’re pretty relaxed. Also “the roof is bad.” But there is real beauty in the giant scale of the place – 30 foot ceilings and exposed surfaces that reveal an ancient industrial past. Light that streams through clerestory windows, turning floating particles into hypnotic fairy dust. In the right hands, this would surpass the Woodberry Kitchen as a successful architectural renovation. Any takers?   

Where: Hollins Street is on the other side of Martin Luther King Boulevard, the bad side. Gentrification, however, is well underway.  The sleek new buildings of University of Maryland are just 100 yards away, across MLK, and coming this way. There are funky shops, cute restaurants and interestingly, many beauty salons already here. Not to mention the bustling Hollins Market right on the corner. Follow MLK Boulevard south to West Baltimore Street, take a right and then a left onto S. Schroeder Street, and a quick right onto Hollins. 

Why: Because you have either the eye of an artist or the head of a real-estate investor.You need one or both of those to realize the potential here.

Would Suit: Andy Warhol. This could be the Factory of Baltimore.

NB:  See “bad side” above, so no kids. Also, obviously, tons of work needed. It would be a labor of love.  



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20 COMMENTS

  1. I have to object to the Fishbowl categorizing the entire area west of MLK “the bad side.” It’s comments like that that belittle the work and progress of the communities in southwest Baltimore. Shame on you Fishbowl.

  2. Wow. As a resident of “the bad side” of MLK I am offended by your labeling of an entire area.
    Have you even visited Barre Circle, Camden Crossing, the University of Maryland Bio Park or the B & O museum? All assets to the city that are wrongly included in your broad generalization. Perhaps you should research the facts and not rely on your preconceived notions before you write.

  3. There are good and bad parts of any neighborhood in the City or county. This article has decided to call the entire area I call home, “bad”! I’m not sure the author has ever been to this “bad” place, but I can assure you the following:

    We have a couple of phenomenal festivals: SoWeBo Arts & Music Festival (also the 1st Annual SoWeBo 5K) & the Pigtown Festival (which includes the running of the pigs), Carroll Park (an urban oasis) & Mt. Clare Museum House (set within Carroll Park on the top of the hill and includes a stable house and orchard), B&O Railroad Museum (home of Choo Choo Blue), Union Square (home of the H.L. Mencken House) & Hollins Market (the oldest existing public market in Baltimore City) and so much more! I just thought it would be fair to elaborate on how “bad” our neighborhood is.

    http://soweboarts.org/festival.html
    http://www.pigtownfestival.com/index.html
    http://www.baltimorecity.gov/Government/AgenciesDepartments/RecreationandParks/Parks/CarrollPark.aspx
    http://www.mountclare.org/
    http://www.borail.org/
    http://www.union-square.us/
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollins_Market

  4. I was just about to say..”bad side”, really? Then I see that us “bad side” people are representing 🙂 I live in barre circle and we have less hold ups and prostitution issues then a lot of places on the “good side” (I know this because I’ve been to plenty of association meetings), plus I don’t have to worry about drunks peeing on my front stoop after a night full of bar hopping, no do the other families that live in my neighborhood….with KIDS too! Holy shit. That’s crazy talk now…

  5. Bad side, huh? No kids? Well, I live in the “bad side” with a toddler and one on the way. I can say that I’ve never experienced such community spirit, generosity, and concern for one’s neighbors in any suburban or “good” neighborhood as I do here. I get to walk to work and shops and parks (with my child) and not feel my life is in danger. And just to be clear, UMB already has buildings on the bad side of MLK, Washington Blvd is undergoing rapid revitalization, and there are more break-ins, vandalization, and assaults, etc. in neighborhoods on the good side of MLK than here in my neighborhood. Perhaps if you’re really trying to promote the building above, maybe you should emphasize what we do have to offer instead of making up claims or basing them on outdated information.

  6. Wow, I hadn’t really read Baltimore Fishbowl much, and I guess I know the reason why, now. “No children” on the “bad” side of MLK? As a parent of a toddler and with another on the way– who lives around the corner from the featured property–I’m going to go ahead and say that this is some major b.s.

    Way to reinforce the kinds of racism and classism that have divided Baltimore for a long time.

  7. I’ve lived west of MLK for 23 years and have yet to understand why some people choose to characterize it as being the “bad” side. I would suggest the author spend some time visiting/researching the area instead of regurgitating a myth that has been floating around for decades.

  8. @Nick…The link you mention is more than a mile north/west of the neighborhood included in this article. Also, you will certainly find crime and shootings in the area mentioned if you look, no one is denying that. The bigger issue is the ENTIRE City has issues w/ crime (Federal Hill, Canton, Fells, etc…), not just one or two neighborhoods. Granted, some more prevalent than others, but a City wide issue none the less. This kind of negative stigma reinforces such activity and suppresses potential contributions/opportunity from those that buy into negative hype created by the media. The fact that you reference this link to justify this article saying our neighborhood is “bad” further exemplifies the fact that people are mislead or uneducated about the reality of many parts of Baltimore City.

  9. i purchased a home in Pigtown about 2 years ago. each neighborhood in baltimore has its issues and i strongly object to the west side of MLK being labeled the “bad side”. there were more expensive neighborhoods where i could have chose to settle down but i judged them to be no safer than Pigtown. i see southwest baltimore being an area of tremendous growth over the next decade. annnnd in the next few years when my wife and i start to have kids, we’ll still call Pigtown home.

  10. Keep complaining about the crime. I’m going to go check this out. And your complaints keep the price down. 😉

  11. Wow, sorry to have offended so many people. I should have put the “bad side” in quotes — I was just referring to the common (at least uptown) perception that there is more crime on the west side of the MLK. The comments about ‘no kids’ was actually from the owner, (blame the source, right?) who pointed out what he said were ‘crackheads on the corner’. I don’t know that they actually were, true.
    And I do know that good things are happening in sowebo and have been for awhile. If I had $575, I would buy this place myself.

  12. I have lived in East Baltimore aka Canton for 20yrs where there are many more empty houses and shootings than in the area featured. Plus anyone heard about the Towsontown Center Mall shooting from Monday night? I have 3 kids and would not move for anything (ok maybe a parking space….)

  13. The only thing I’d say is that the comment that “gentrification is well underway” is a stretch. I’ve lived in this neighborhood since 1987 and I’d say it’s been up and down, mostly down. Which is not to say that the neighborhood lacks charm; gentrification is overrated. I think it’s very fair to say that the neighborhood is considered “bad,” especially by people who don’t live here. But that’s fine with some of us. It’s good cover. And it’s safer than it looks ….

    Also agree with the comments that the “good” neighborhood goes right up to the B&O Museum. But not past it. The dividing line isn’t MLKJr Blvd, it’s the 21230 zip code line (roughly Pratt St. & south is OK).

  14. OK – I get that people who live in SoWeBo get offended when their ‘hood is characterized as “bad” – but one of the things I love about Baltimore Fishbowl is that it is FUN, and that can include a little TEASING – right? We all love Baltimore and if we can’t handle a little kidding around, well…lighten up, kids. Let’s not put the Eds on the defensive or we might lose some of what makes this online mag special.

  15. I live in Pigtown and can’t wait to get out. It’s progressively gotten worse in the 20+ years our family has lived here. Most of the houses on my block are Section 8, something you never used to see. So when people talk about the “bad” part of town, ask those of us who have lived here for more than a decade. Don’t ask the self righteous snobs who moved here because they can’t afford Canton.

  16. Let’s be serious, it is the bad side of town. As is the east side. And several pockets everywhere else. And I live in Pigtown and have the sense to know it’s the bad side. And shouldn’t Baltimore be renamed the city of what could be because that’s all I ever hear…Pigtown could be awesome, Hollins could be a great neighborhood. Too bad it never quite happens.

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