Owners of Woodberry site where millworkers’ houses were razed proceeding with development plans

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Photo by Fred Scharmen

The property owners behind a controversial project in Woodberry have wasted no time assembling a new team to design a development where two historic stone millworkers’ houses were torn down in May.

The Woodberry Community Association is scheduled to meet on Thursday to learn about reworked plans for the properties at 3511 and 3523 Clipper Road.

Association president Sheri Higgins notified community members and others that the controversial development, called Woodberry Station, is now being designed by JP2 Architects of Baltimore, with Gordon Godat as the lead designer.

The meeting will be held in the community at Itineris, located at 2050 Rockrose Ave. Godat, who could not be reached for comment Tuesday, is scheduled to present at around 7:15 p.m.

“This is the new presentation for the stone houses on Clipper Road,” Higgins said in an email. She added she didn’t have information to share about the rest of the development team or the scope of the project.

“I will be learning details myself at the Thursday meeting.”

Katherine Jennings, listed in business records as the resident agent for Woodberry Station LLC, which owns the property, could not be reached for comment.

The meeting comes seven weeks after a demolition crew tore down two 1840s stone houses that community residents had been told would be preserved as part of a 55-unit apartment building.

Chris Mfume, the developer who was working with Jennings at the time, resigned from the project after the houses were razed, saying he had nothing to do with the demolition. The architects who were working to preserve the stone houses within the new development, Pavlina Ilieva and Kuo Pao Lian of PI.KL Studio, and consultant Al Barry also resigned from the project, essentially forcing Woodberry Station LLC to start over with a new development team.

Thursday’s meeting is the first public indication that Jennings has assembled a new team to move ahead.

The project is resuming just as Baltimore’s Commission for Historic and Architectural Preservation (CHAP) is working to designate Woodberry as a historic district, a move that would provide an added layer of protection to stone houses and other historic properties in the area. If Woodberry receives the historic district designation, any new construction would need approval from CHAP before work could begin.

At CHAP’s monthly meeting today, director Eric Holcomb and preservation planner Caitlin Audette said the city agency will be surveying property owners soon to gauge support for the designation effort. Audette told the commissioners property owners have already held meetings to learn about the process.

“There’s been good feedback,” she said. “People are pretty excited.”

Ed Gunts

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