Rendering of the Baltimore Food Hub. Image via

Construction begins this week on the Baltimore Food Hub, a $17 million development that will transform an urban brownfield in the Broadway East community into a center for food production and job creation.

American Communities Trust (ACT), the lead developer, will hold a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday at noon on part of the site, 1801 East Oliver Street in East Baltimore.

“Once completed, the 3.5-acre campus will include teaching and commercial production kitchens, spaces for food manufacturing, job training, urban farming, and an all-season fresh food market,”  ACT states on its Baltimore Food Hub website. “The project is on track to create dozens of jobs, bring new life to a disinvested urban area, and provide substantial opportunities for micro-enterprise, workforce development, and community education.”

Located near the intersection of Gay and Wolfe streets and the Johns Hopkins medical campus, the development involves the renovation of several large masonry buildings that are visible to passengers traveling to and from Baltimore on the Amtrak line, including the old Eastern Pumping Station. Cross Street Partners is managing construction. Ziger Snead is the architect.

Scheduled participants in the groundbreaking ceremony include Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake; City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young; Jay Williams, U. S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, and Kenneth Holt, Maryland Secretary of Housing and Community Development. The first phase of the food hub will be ready for occupancy in 2017.

Grace Fellowship Church planning a new home

For years, Grace Fellowship Church has been housed in the old John Deere Co. building on Deereco Road in Timonium, once home of the John Deere manufacturing business. This year, church leaders submitted plans to Baltimore County to build a 1,200-seat, 75,000 square foot megachurch on a 21-acre site on Seminary Road east of Falls Road.

The Valleys Planning Council, a non-profit organization that monitors development in northern Baltimore County, has raised concerns about increased traffic in the area of the proposed church, the impact on water quality, the loss of trees and other environmental issues. As part of the review process, a Community Input Meeting about the project will be held today, September 19, at 7 p.m. at the Sheppard Pratt Conference Center, 6501 North Charles Street in Towson.

King/Briscoe House suffers partial collapse

One month after Baltimore’s preservation commission voted to recommend that the King/Briscoe house at 1232 Druid Hill Avenue be added to the city’s landmark list, part of the building has collapsed.

The collapse occurred yesterday at the rear of the building, a section that CHAP had said could come down because it was structurally unstable. Bricks from the second story covered the rear yard and part of the alley behind the building and electrical wires were on the ground, but the front of the building appeared unaffected by the collapse.

Bethel AME Church owns the vacant row house, which has ties to Baltimore’s civil rights history. Church leaders have resisted the city’s efforts to make the building a landmark.

Open Works opens September 24

Open Works, a 34,000 square foot “fabrication space for creative professionals” at 1400 Greenmount Avenue, opens Sept. 24 with a daylong schedule of activities. Baltimore Arts Realty Corporation is the developer. Cho Benn Holback + Associates is the architect.

‘Love That’ opens at Belvedere Square

Love That, a home goods, jewelry and gift shop, is the newest merchant at Belvedere Square, 529 East Belvedere Avenue. It opened Saturday.

Baltimore Eagle liquor board hearing set for September 22

Baltimore’s liquor board will hold a hearing on September 22 in City Hall Room 215 to consider an application from The Baltimore Eagle to serve alcohol at 2022 North Charles Street. The applicants are seeking to transfer the license from the now-closed Club Hippo, at 1 West Eager Street.

Proposals sought for “on-water” Inner Harbor attractions

City officials are seeking proposals for new Inner Harbor attractions that could be in place by next summer.

The Baltimore Development Corporation issued a request for proposals from developers or businesses interested in operating “on-water” attractions along the north wall of the Inner Harbor basin, near the World Trade Center.

The available sites are a floating dock currently used by the Living Classrooms Foundation to operate dragon boats and a second floating dock that is not in use. The Living Classrooms’ contract for one dock is due to expire, although it can submit a proposal.

“The continuous updating of Inner Harbor attractions and the development of new ones is critical to maintaining the Inner Harbor as a world renowned venue for tourists and city residents,” according to the request for proposals.

“BDC is seeking written proposals from qualified respondents for the creation and operation of new attractions meant to provide high-quality entertainment, educational, cultural and other positive experiences, outdoors at the Inner Harbor for visitors of all ages, incomes, abilities, and disabilities.

“The attractions may involve active participation by the public in physical movement or travel and may include water features.  Operators must have excellent management practices and experience in marketing, public safety, customer service, financial controls and maintenance.  The RFP’s intent is to maintain and/or improve the appearance of the Inner Harbor while providing on-water attractions that are family-oriented and diversify the mix, style, and price points of attractions now offered at the Inner Harbor.

“Attractions must be open, at minimum, to the public during Baltimore’s peak tourist season of April 1 through October 31.  BDC is especially interested in attractions that would be ready to operate no later than June 1, 2017.

November 1 at 4 p.m. is the deadline for bids for the two floating docks. 

Inner Harbor land up for bid

The Baltimore Development Corp has set October 1 at 4 p.m. as the deadline for proposals from companies interested in developing a half-acre site on the north side of Pratt Street, between Charles and Hanover streets.

City officials say they have received an unsolicited bid for the city-owned parcel at 111 South Hanover Street, and are now seeking competing bids before they make an award. The land is a long, narrow parcel that is zoned for commercial use and contains 23,612 square feet. Part of the land includes the France-Merrick Fountain, which has been at the northwest corner of Pratt and Charles streets since 1981.

Artists sought for Rash Field

The Baltimore Office of Promotion + the Arts is seeking artists to develop public artwork as part of the redesign of Rash Field on the south shore of the Inner Harbor. The Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore and the city’s parks department are leading the initiative. October 7 is the deadline for artists to apply for consideration.

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

2 replies on “Groundbreaking for Baltimore Food Hub, Megachurch Seeks a New Home, Proposed City Landmark Suffers Partial Collapse”

  1. Wow — I love this — everything I have heard snippets about is listed right here, with facts instead of rumor! Will this be a regular “column?” Love it!

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