Mayor Catherine Pugh today announced the city will start a nonprofit to invest in distressed neighborhoods that have for years been passed over for development.
Gov. Larry Hogan already closed Baltimore’s decrepit men’s jail. Now, the state and city governments are looking to wipe out some of the city’s big swaths of vacant properties.
Vacant properties are a serious source of problems in Baltimore. Studies have shown that blocks with vacants have significantly higher reports of violence, theft, and drug crimes; abandoned houses lower nearby property values while at the same time draining already-strained municipal services. In Baltimore, the fight against vacant properties is complicated by landlords who live out of town. But Baltimore’s absentee landlords–slumlords, if you’re not feeling polite–are hopefully feeling a bit more uneasy this week, after a Baltimore City Circuit Court judge handed down a ruling against absentee landlord Scott Wizig.
The Ambassador, sister establishment to the beloved but embattled Senator Theatre, has been an evocative, run-down shell in Howard Park for the past several years, the building condemned, owners and neighborhood leaders at a loss to reimagine the space.
Well, despite a “minimally” damaging fire inside the theater last week, a ShopRite scheduled to open across the street in 2013 is enough to make Howard Park downright optimistic about the historic building’s future. Members of city council as well as the buildings co-owners have expressed their excitement regarding the art deco eyesore.