Former Odell’s Nightclub Goes to Auction, Gunther & Co. Opening in Brewer’s Hill, Revisiting the Roland Park Bike Lane, and more

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Odell’s nightclub on North Avenue used to have a slogan: “You know if you belong.”

Now, Odell’s itself may soon belong to someone else.

The Tudor-style building at 19-21 East North Avenue, built in 1905 and currently vacant, is going up for auction next month. The building will be sold to the highest bidder who offers above $10,000, and it doesn’t have to stay a nightclub.

According to Baltimore Heritage, Odell’s was named after Brock Odell, who opened Odell’s Restaurant and Bar in 1976. Odell died in 1985, and Odell’s continued as a dance club until 1992.

Now the surrounding area has been designated the Station North Arts and Entertainment District and both Johns Hopkins University and the Maryland Institute College of Art have made it a location for classrooms and film studios.

The former Odell’s is between the Center Theatre building at 10 E. North Avenue, which reopened last year as a multi-tenant arts center and incubator, and the historic Parkway Theater at 5 W. North Avenue, which is undergoing an $18.2 million conversion to become the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Parkway Film Center.

“There are new education buildings, retail development, multi-unit development, and renovations of many existing buildings nearby,” the auctioneers say. “The JHU-MICA Film Center on the opposite side of the street, once a long-vacant dilapidated building, exemplifies the nature of change in Station North.”

The three-story Odell’s building contains about 13,650 square feet of space, and ceilings are about 16 feet high. The sale is by A. J. Billig & Co. Auctioneers and One House At A Time Receiver’s Auctions. According to Billig, it needs “full renovation.”

The sale will be held at the Radisson Hotel at Cross Keys, 5100 Falls Road, at 11 a.m. on June 9.  Bidders must apply by June 2 to prequalify.

Coming to Brewer’s Hill

May 19 is the target opening date for Gunther & Co., a new restaurant by Nancy Hart Mola and Jerry Trice. Featuring modern American cuisine, Gunther & Co. is located at 3650 Toone Street, inside the former boiler room of the old Gunther Brewing Co., now transformed into apartments by Obrecht Commercial Real Estate.

Rethinking Roland Park’s cycle track

One suggestion for improving the controversial cycle track on Roland Avenue is to move it from curbside to a dedicated lane next to the median strip in the middle of the road. The idea was mentioned briefly at the May meeting of the Roland Park Civic League as an alternative to parking cars out in the roadway so a bicycle lane can be next to the curb.

The cycle track is one of many subjects that will be discussed during the civic league’s annual meeting on Tuesday, May 17, at 7 p.m. at the Roland Park Elementary/Middle School, 5207 Roland Avenue, in Roland Park.

Wyndhurst wants clay tiles

Wyndhurst Improvement Association is the latest community group to support a plan to use clay tiles, not “luxury designer shingles,” when the roof is reinstalled at Roland Park Elementary/Middle School, which dates from 1924.

Baltimore City Public Schools chief operating officer J. Keith Scroggins told the school board last week that Wyndhurst and the Roland Park Civic League approved the school system’s plan to use asphalt shingles rather than clay tiles.

Wyndhurst, which had not taken a position when Scroggins spoke, voted Sunday to ask the school board to reinstall a clay tile roof to replace one damaged during January’s 29-inch snowstorm. The civic League took the same position on May 4.

Vondrasek named interim Parks chief

William Vondrasek, a deputy director of Baltimore’s Department of Recreation and Parks, has been named the interim director of the agency. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake this month named Vondrasek to run the department after the departure of Ernest Burkeen, who resigned this spring. Burkeen is one of several agency heads or high-level city employees who announced plans in recent weeks to leave the administration before Rawlings-Blake’s term ends in December.

Vondrasek, a horticulturist, joined Baltimore’s parks department in 2004. Baltimore has one of the most extensive parks systems in the country, with nearly 6,000 acres, more than 300,000 trees, playgrounds, athletic fields, trails and historic landmarks such as the Washington Monument and the Patterson Park Pagoda.

Preservation Maryland awards

Three individuals or groups from Baltimore received awards from Preservation Maryland during its Best of Maryland awards program earlier this month. Charlie Duff, president of Jubilee Baltimore, received the President’s Award for his commitment to the history and future of Baltimore. Artisans of the Ivy Hotel on Biddle Street received the Artisan Award. Mount Vernon Place Conservancy received the Stewardship Award for its $5.5 million restoration of the Washington Monument. The Old Greenbelt Theatre received the Community Choice Award.

Drinkery liquor license renewal draws protest

Nearly three dozen Mount Vernon residents and property owners have signed a petition to protest the renewal of a liquor license for The Drinkery, a bar at 203-209 W. Read Street. In their petition, the people appealing the license renewal say the bar’s patrons “are often disorderly and disruptive as they leave the premises,” “regularly loiter and litter on the sidewalks” outside the bar, engage in “violent altercations” inside the bar that spill out into the neighborhood, and that drug activity occurs “both in and on the periphery of the establishment.” In the past year, they say, there have been 284 calls to the police department because of “disruptive activity at the bar.”
The city’s liquor board will hold a public hearing on the renewal application on Thursday at 11:30 a.m. at City Hall.


Ed Gunts

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

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