Federal Hill Townhouse, Once A Homestead Property, Now With Landscaped Garden and Rooftop Views

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Hot House: 40 E. Montgomery Street, Federal Hill, Baltimore, 21230

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Federal style brick townhouse, circa 1900, renovated. Three bedrooms, 2 full baths over 2,172 sq. ft and three stories, with roof deck and unfinished basement. Cherry kitchen with new stainless steel appliances, separate dining and living room, large upstairs family room/bedroom. Landscaped garden with herringbone brick patio, central a/c: $439,900 (recently reduced)

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What: A turn around. In the mid-1980s, the Baltimore City Housing Department was flush from the success of its Dollar House Program, a nationally acclaimed urban renewal project started in 1973 under William Donald Schaefer. Houses in the burned-out and derelict areas of the Otterbein and Stirling Street were sold for one dollar in a lottery to any homeowner who could afford to fix them up and promise to live there. A decade or so later, a similar idea was enacted here in Federal Hill, where this house was among those sold, no longer for a dollar, but for a lowball price under similar terms. (Agent thinks “the owner here paid about $12K.”) That owner lived here from the late 1980s until very recently, and in those 25 years both the house and the neighborhood have risen to the top of the heap in Baltimore City real estate. Number 40 E. Montgomery is a tall and dignified presence on a pleasant street. It is long and narrow like most older rowhouses, but it’s been opened up at the back with glass doors to let in the light and a private garden vista. The galley kitchen is at the front of the house, and you walk back through the dining room to get to the living room and garden. Living room has a fireplace, and an unusual tile floor. On the second floor are two good-sized bedrooms, one with a fireplace, which could be the master, and a full bath. On the third floor are the second bathroom and the third bedroom, as well as a study and stairs to the deck. The third floor could easily be a master suite.

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Where: E. Montgomery Street runs from S. Hanover Street on the west, across Light Street, over to Federal Hill Park. Number 40 is a few doors west of Light Street, Federal Hill’s main thoroughfare. Federal Hill attracts a young, bar-hopping crowd, especially on the weekends, so there are tons of fun shops, bars and restaurants. Cross Street Market for groceries and grazing. Easy walk west to the stadiums, east to Inner Harbor, and from there on into Harbor East. The free Charm City Circulator stops just around the corner and runs all over the city. For families with children, there are several Montessori pre-schools in the area, and Federal Hill Elementary goes up to eighth grade. Otterbein Swim Club is hugely popular, and has a long waiting list.

Would Suit: Tolerant, young-at-heart retirees. Young family committed to living in the city – a rising demographic here, according to the realtor.

Why: Upstairs sitting room/master has a wood-burning fireplace and big windows over the garden.

Why Not: The entrance vestibule of the house is the eat-in area of the kitchen, which is awkward… the kitchen feels too close to the front door. A design-savvy buyer might be able to come up with an easy fix for this. Also, no downstairs loo.

NB: Street parking only, although you do get a resident’s permit.

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