Odell’s, Peale Museum, St. Peters School and Other Preservation Projects Get State Funding Support

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Odell’s, formerly Tulley’s Dancing Academy, is one of five properties that will receive funding support for renovation from the Hogan administration.

Tulley’s Dancing Academy hasn’t been in business for decades, but the building that once housed it is poised to reopen as the latest performance center for Baltimore’s Station North Arts and Entertainment District.

The three-story, Tudor Revival-style building at 19-21 East North Avenue was built in 1909 and initially housed Tulley’s ballroom dancing studio on the upper level and a car dealership and repair shop called Auto Outing on the lower levels. It later became Odell’s nightclub, an early home of the club music scene in Baltimore.

Now it’s one of five underused historic properties in the Baltimore area that have been selected to receive funding support from the Hogan administration.

According to state officials, the owner of the Odell’s building will receive $835,548 in tax credits for renovating the building. The owner is a joint venture of Jubilee Baltimore and Sam Polakoff’s Property Consulting Inc. The renovated building is intended to house performance spaces that will make it another attraction within the Station North arts district. The state tax credits are expected to leverage a total investment of more than $5 million.

State officials announced last month that the Odell’s building is one of eight projects around Maryland whose developers will receive Heritage Structure Rehabilitation Competitive Commercial Tax Credits, if they complete the projects in accordance with state preservation guidelines. The projects were selected out of 14 that sought assistance.

The announcement was made by Lieutenant Gov. Boyd Rutherford, Planning Secretary Wendi Peters and Maryland Historical Trust director Elizabeth Hughes. The tax credits can be used by the developers as part of a financing package to pay for the renovations. Besides preserving historic buildings, the $9 million worth of state tax credits are expected to create more than 650 construction jobs.

“This tax credit is one part of our efforts to change Maryland for the better by the revitalization and repurposing of empty buildings into active, vibrant sites for new businesses,” Rutherford said. “The Historic Structure Rehabilitation Tax Credit is one of the most effective investment tools for strengthening Maryland’s local economies.”

In addition to the Odell’s renovation, the Baltimore area properties that will benefit from the tax credits include:

Saint Peter’s School on South Poppleton Street in Baltimore. Tax credits: $752,736. Constructed in 1917, the building was originally used as a school for the Saint Peter the Apostle Roman Catholic Church. Around 1970 the school was closed and the property was converted to housing for seniors. It later became a residential health treatment center but has been vacant since 2012.

The rehabilitation of this building will create workforce rental housing targeting employees of Bon Secours Hospital and the University of Maryland, Baltimore. The building is in the Hollins Roundhouse historic district. The owner, Carter Memorial Church of God in Christ, is working with Cross Street Partners of ‘Baltimore. The tax credits will leverage a total investment of more than $3 million.

Home of the Friendless at 1313 Druid Hill Avenue in Baltimore. Tax credits: $460,000. The Home of the Friendless was constructed in the Second Empire style in 1870 to provide a home for orphaned and deserted children. The building continued to be used as an orphanage for 60 years. As part of a three-building complex, it served between 100 and 200 children at a time.

By 1922 the institution moved out and the building served as a health center and then an office building for the Baltimore City Department of Housing. A new owner, AZ Group LLC, proposes to convert the building to live/work spaces for artists. The tax credits will leverage a total investment of $2.3 million.

Peale’s Baltimore Museum, 225 North Holiday Street in Baltimore, Tax credits: $660,000. This National Historic Landmark building was created in 1814 to serve as the Municipal City Museum under the direction of painter Rembrandt Peale and later his brother, Rubens. The structure is believed to be the first purpose-built museum building in America. By 1830 the building had been repurposed to house the Baltimore City Hall. In 1875 it was converted to a public school, the Number 1 Colored Primary School.

By 1931 the building was in need of significant repairs and was once again renovated to serve as a museum, which is was until closing due to city budget cuts in 1997. The proposed renovations will restore the building for use as the non-profit Peale Center for Baltimore History & Architecture, a destination for the study of Baltimore and its buildings.

The city owns the Peale and will lease it on a long term basis. The tax credits are expected to trigger a total investment of $3.3 million. This project is also getting a $400,000 grant from the state in fiscal 2017 and a $50,000 grant from the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority.

National Enameling & Stamping Company on Light Street in south Baltimore. Tax credits: $3,000,000. Constructed in 1887 to serve as the works for the Baltimore branch of the nation’s largest tin ware manufacturer, this complex produced a variety of tin products including decorative enameled and japanned wares.

Since 1952 the property has largely been used for storage. The proposed renovations will convert this former industrial complex into rental apartments, including some that are designed with innovative floor plans and amenities for visually impaired residents through a partnership with the National Federation of the Blind. Urban Design Group is part of the development team.

Additional projects that became eligible for tax credits are:

302-304 Park Row in Chestertown. Tax credits: $210,000. The two-story stucco building was constructed in 1928 to serve as a physician’s office with a residence above.

The owner, Park Row Partners LLC, proposes to renovate it for continued use as offices and housing. The total investment is $1 million.

Phillips Packing Company Plant F, on Dorchester Avenue in Cambridge. Tax credits: $3 million. Constructed in the 1920’s by Milbourne Bramble and used for a brief time as the Cambridge Furniture Company, this factory complex was acquired by the Phillips Packing Company in 1930. Under Phillips’s ownership this complex was one of Cambridge’s largest factories and focused on the canning of tomatoes. Its success led to Cambridge being known as the “tomato canning capital of the world.”

The rehabilitation will create a “Food and Farming Exchange” housing a range of food-related uses featuring a brewery and brew pub, kitchen business incubator, an oyster bar and collaborative office space. The development team includes the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy and Cross Street Partners of Baltimore. The total investment will exceed $15 million.

Ramocciotti/Professional Arts Building on Public Square in Hagerstown. Tax credits: $190,560. Constructed in 1937, this six-story Art Deco landmark features remarkably intact storefront, interior floor plans and facades comprised of soaring crenelated pilasters framing cast concrete decorative panels and original metal windows.

Professional Arts Building LLC and owner Michael Fitzgerald plan to rehabilitate the building for offices with first-floor commercial space. The total investment will be nearly $1 million.

Since 1996, the Maryland Heritage Structure Rehabilitation tax credit program and its predecessor have played a key role in community revitalization by supporting the rehabilitation and reuse of underutilized historic properties across the state.

According to state officials, the program is credited with rehabilitating more than 5,000 historic buildings and creating some 25,000 construction jobs since it began. The state’s investment of more than $380 million has benefitted properties in all of Maryland’s 23 counties and the city of Baltimore. The Abell Foundation has estimated that about 73 jobs are created for each $1 million in tax credits and every dollar invested generates $8.53 in economic activity.

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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