New Building at MICA, Starbucks in Rodgers Forge, Rehab for Lion Bros. Building

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Rendering of new MICA building. Rendering courtesy of  GWWO Architects.

The Maryland Institute College of Art is moving ahead with construction of a five-level, $8.1 million classroom building in place of a smaller property it owns at 100-116 Dolphin Street, part of the Bolton Hill National Register Historic District.  

MICA Building to be demolished
MICA building to be demolished. Photo by Ed Gunts.

Crews have erected fencing around the construction site to begin demolition of a three-story building that currently occupies the property, a former auto repair shop known as the former Dolphin Radiator and Fender Works. The three-story, 15,000 square foot building was built around 1914, acquired by MICA in the early 1960s, and most recently housed the college’s printmaking department, which has moved to 1515 Mount Royal Avenue.

Building to be demolished. Photo by Ed Gunts.
Photo by Ed Gunts.
Rendering of Dolphin Building.
Rendering courtesy GWWO Architects.

Baltimore’s Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation last year paved the way for MICA to move ahead with demolition when it determined that the Dolphin Street building had changed so much over the years that it could no longer be considered a “contributing building” to the Bolton Hill historic district.

The 25,000 square foot replacement structure has been designed by GWWO Inc./Architects of Baltimore to house academic programs in product design, gaming, architectural design, fabric design and other subjects. Southway Builders is the construction manager.

The college is aiming to complete construction in time for the new building to open by the fall of 2017. It will be the first new construction project on MICA’s Bolton Hill campus since Samuel Hoi replaced longtime college president Fred Lazarus IV on July 1, 2014.

Starbucks coming to Rodgers Forge

Site of new Starbucks in Rodgers Forge. Photo by Ed Gunts.
The site of new Starbucks in Rodgers Forge. Photo by Ed Gunts.

If the presence of a Starbucks coffee shop makes a neighborhood more marketable, as some analysts say, then the homes in Rodgers Forge just became a little more valuable.

According to the Towson Flyer, Starbucks is planning to open a branch in the former Bradford Federal building at the northwest corner of York Road and Regester Avenue, an intersection where Rodgers Forge meets Stoneleigh.

Starbucks will be the first occupant of the building since M&T Bank, which acquired Bradford Federal, closed its branch there in 2014.  It is one of two new tenants for the intersection. Pure Raw Juice, a smoothie and juice bar, is coming to the southeast corner of York and Regester, in the space long occupied by a Harry Little sub shop and most recently by a frozen yogurt shop.  It’s the second location for Pure Raw Juice, which is currently at 1501 Riverside Avenue in south Baltimore.

Construction starts on Lion Brothers Building

Lion Bros rendering

The historic Lion Brothers Building in southwest Baltimore was once home to the world’s largest maker of Girl Scout “proficiency” badges and fabric insignia and embroidered logos for the Boy Scouts. Soon it will be home to a mix of tenants seeking to take advantage of its location within the University of Maryland-Baltimore BioPark.

Developer Bill Struever’s Cross Street Partners and the Southwest Partnership held a ceremony this month to mark the start of renovation work at the former embroidery company at 875 Hollins Street.

Cross Street Partners announced that it has closed on the financing for the 37,500 square foot project and signed leases with three major tenants. The tenants are Enterprise Homes, the development arm of the Enterprise Community Partners, which is taking 8,318 square feet of space; Baltimore Community Lending, an organization dedicated to transforming and revitalizing Baltimore neighborhoods, 3,449 square feet of space, and the University of Maryland Baltimore County Intermedia and Digital Arts graduate program, which is taking 5,935 square feet. Cross Street Partners will lease another 6,807 square feet.

The leases represent 67 percent of the available space in the project. About 10,000 square feet remains available for lease on the building’s first floor, which features 14-foot-high ceilings, large factory windows, and exposed brick walls.

An $11.7 million financing package for the Lion Brothers Building redevelopment was structured with Federal New Markets Tax Credits, state and federal historic tax credits, and a grant from the State of Maryland.

“We are excited to welcome Cross Street Partners and the Lion Brothers Building to the BioPark,” said James L. Hughes, President of the UMB Health Science Research Park Corporation (RPC). “We could not be more thrilled to see it come to life and set the stage for additional investment in the neighborhood.”

“Each of our tenants took a risk by signing onto Lion Brothers when it was still in the development phase, and we are grateful to them for playing an instrumental role in making this project a reality,” said John Renner, Development Director at Cross Street Partners.

Pencek, Arthur moving on

Bill Pencek, former deputy managing director of Maryland’s Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts, has left state government to become executive director of the U. S. National Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites, a heritage conservation organization based in Washington, D. C.

Catherine Rogers Arthur has stepped down as director and curator of the Homewood Museum at the Johns Hopkins University, a position she held for 19 years.  Hopkins has launched a search for her replacement.

National Park Service turns 100

The National Park Service will turn 100 on August 25. The federal agency, part of the Department of the Interior, is involved in numerous local landmarks and places of interest, from Fort McHenry in south Baltimore to the Hampton National Historic Site in Towson to a wide range of national historic districts.

New project for Design Collective

Design Collective is the architect for the $10 million Hammerjacks concert and entertainment venue planned for the former Paradox nightclub space at 1300 Russell Street, across from M&T Bank Stadium.

Preliminary site work has begun, and full construction will get underway this fall, with a grand opening planned for 2017. According to information on Design Collective’s website, plans call for a 24,000-square-foot portion of the former nightclub to be renovated and for a 29,000-square-foot concert venue to be added, with the capability of accommodating up to 2,500 people.

Morgan Keller Construction is the general contractor and construction manager for Hammerjacks Entertainment Group.

Rodeway is now Midtown Inn

The former Rodeway Inn at St. Paul and Madison streets in Mount Vernon has changed its name to the Midtown Inn. Longtime Baltimoreans may know it as the former Abbey Hotel.

Meeting about changes to the Charm City Circulator

A community meeting will be held on August 29 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. to address proposed changes to the Charm City Circulator. The city’s Department of Transportation has proposed eliminating the northern leg of the Purple Route, from Pennsylvania Station to 33rd Street, starting in early 2017.

The August 29 meeting will be held at Saints Philip and James Roman Catholic Church, 2801 North Charles Street. A comment period on the proposed changes is open until October 31. If the route can’t go all the way north to 33rd Street, some say, it would make sense to make North Avenue the northern stop on the route, rather than Penn Station, and then have the buses turn on North Avenue to head back south.

Memorial service for Chris Delaporte

A memorial service for Chris Delaporte, first executive director of the Maryland Stadium Authority, will be heldOctober 1 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, one of many buildings he helped bring to Baltimore. Delaporte died earlier this summer after a bout with cancer.

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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3 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t think anybody will shed tears over the losses of the Dolphin St row or the bank. That bank was especially ugly.

  2. Seconding the shout-out for the National Parks’ 100th birthday! We just visited Zion, Bryce, and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon – all so stunning and WONDERful!!!! Thank you Presidents Roosevelt and Wilson, Stephen Mather, and Horace Albright!

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