Hot House: Victory House, 1702-1708 Light Street, South Baltimore, 21230
Gray painted-brick L-shaped rooming house, circa 1900. Around 7,074 square feet over two stories, with 39 bedrooms, two bathrooms. .1 acre interior courtyard. Walk to waterfront, Federal Hill, and Port Covington: $400,000 (suggested opening bid)
Auction: July 12th. Contact [email protected]
What: A blight. Right now, this big gray eyesore is no one’s ideal neighbor. Police respond to complaints of prostitution and drug dealing here with depressing regularity. It’s the registered address of at least three sex offenders and it’s across the street from an elementary school. Looking in the windows, you can see evidence of the sad lives lived here. And yet, it might have possibilities. In the past few years alone, similar places in New York and Los Angeles have been repurposed with surprising success. The former flophouse, Bowery House in New York is now a three-star, hostel/hostel designed for economy travelers, with rooms starting at $135 per night. It’s kept the original cubicles (cabins), spruced them up and added luxe bathrooms. The rooms retain colorful reminders of the building’s past life and former tenants. In Los Angeles, the non-profit Chrysalis repurposed the old Leonides Hotel on Skid Row as a Community Resource center. Any other ideas out there? Pre-auction bids are being accepted, sharpen your pencils.
Where: Victory House is at the southernmost end of Light Street, at the corner of E. Heath Street. It’s one block west of Riverside Park, a 14-acre greenspace with playing fields, basketball courts, and a big swimming pool. A block or two south is I-95. Just across I-95 is Port Covington, Under Armour’s planned mini-city whose development is already underway. South Baltimore gentrification is finally looking like a possibility. The loss of Victory House is a win for the neighborhood, and will definitely spark more interest here.
Why: Anything you do will be an improvement.
Why Not: “Property is occupied,” which means that you will have to get rid of the tenants.
Would Suit: Savvy developer looking to piggy back onto Kevin Plank’s dream.
NB: Bad as conditions at Victory House are, it still fills a need. Where do people go from here?
Hat tip to Ed Gunts for bringing the auction of Victory House to our attention.