Market-Rate Apartments Proposed for East Baltimore

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Eager Square Street Level View

A $51 million, 246-unit market-rate housing and retail development will rise in East Baltimore if the City Council approves a tax abatement plan requested by the developer.

Eager Square is the name of the proposed mixed-use development, which would rise on both sides of the 1900 block of East Eager Street, between Wolfe and Washington streets, in the East Baltimore Development Inc. (EBDI) renewal area.

Eager Square aerial view

The project consists of three-story townhouses on one side of Eager Street and a six-story building with five levels of apartments over one level of commercial space on the other side of Eager Street.  The developers are Pennrose of Pennsylvania and AVG Partners of New York. Wiencek+ Associates of Washington, D. C. is the architect.

The Baltimore Development Corporation’s directors today voted in an open meeting to recommend that the city allow the developers to follow a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) arrangement for the first 15 years of the property’s operation.

Deborah Devan, a BDC director, said Eager Square would be one of the first market-rate rental projects in the 88-acre EBDI footprint, which is just north of the Johns Hopkins medical campus.  The PILOT arrangement still must be approved by the City Council before the project can move ahead with the proposed tax abatement, she said.  About $6.75 million in taxes would be abated under the PILOT arrangement, she said.

Devan said the developers sought approval for a PILOT twice before but were turned down the first two times. The developers altered the terms of the PILOT agreement, including reducing the length of the tax abatement period from 25 years to 15 years, and the BDC’s project review and oversight committee supports the latest proposal as a way of bringing market-rate housing to the area, Devan said.

“There’s been a big demand for market rate” housing in the area near Hopkins, Devan said,  “That’s what everyone wants to see.”

Pennrose has already built 67 affordable housing units in the EBDI renewal area. In addition to the 246 residences, Eager Square will include nearly 35,000 square feet of retail space, 152 on-site parking spaces, a landscaped courtyard and a swimming pool. Construction will result in the creation of 507 temporary jobs and 13 permanent jobs, Devan said.

Johns Hopkins University President Ron Daniels and others have said they are eager to see more housing built in the East Baltimore renewal area to accommodate people who want to live close to Hopkins’ medical campus.

The 88-acre renewal area also includes medical laboratories, an “innovation hub,” student housing, affordable housing, for-sale housing, shops, and restaurants. A Residence Inn by Marriott and a large public park are now under construction.

In other action, the BDC’s loan committee has approved a loan to help restaurateur Spike Gjerde and his partners, owners of the Ivy Bookshop, open a new restaurant and bookshop called Bird in Hand in the Nine East 33rd apartment building nearing completion in Charles Village. The amount of the loan was not disclosed.

Ed Gunts

Ed Gunts

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


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1 COMMENT

  1. Ok but I drive past the empty retail spots in the bottom of the apartment building at Wolfe and Fayette every day and wonder how this spot further north will be different. Where is the closest grocery store?

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