Time Group plans conversion of the Fox Industries building; Doors Open on Saturday; Topping off for Stadium Square; Highland Haus breaks ground

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fox industries building
Fox Industries Building

The next big redevelopment project in Hampden is likely to be the conversion of the historic Fox Industries building at 3100-3200 Falls Cliff Road, the first major manufacturing center of the Noxzema skin care conglomerate.

Dominic Wiker, development director of the Time Group, said his company is planning to convert the building to a mixed-use project, with about 90 apartments on the upper levels and a “maker space” for small businesses near ground level.

Wiker said the project would be a joint venture of the Time Group and Michael Fox and Edye Fox Abrams, the current owners of the building and children of the founder of Fox Industries, the late Douglas Fox.

Charles Alexander of the Alexander Design Studio would be the architect, and Whiting Turner would be the general contractor. Leasing and management would be handled by Washington Place Management, an affiliate of the Time Group.

Wiker said the conversion would cost about $22 million to $23 million and would be privately financed. He said the team would like to obtain approvals in time to begin construction by the summer of 2017 and open about a year later. A possible name for the project, he said, is The Fox Building.

Wiker said Time Group was approached by the Fox family about recycling the building. He said the lead occupant, Simpson Strong Tie,  a maker of “composite strengthening systems,” is planning to move to Chicago in early 2017 and much of the building will be vacated when Simpson leaves. He said the idea of a conversion makes sense for a variety of reasons, including the building’s historical significance and the fact that it’s close to the Jones Falls but not in a flood plain.

“There’s a long manufacturing history in that building,” he said. “It has great windows, great views, a great location. The dimensions work really well. There’s lots of flexibility.”

Wiker said the developers hope to attract young professionals who want to live in the city and work there or north of the city, in which case they would have a reverse commute.

“It’s a walkable neighborhood,” he said. “This is four blocks from The Avenue [36th Street] and all the amenities there.”

The Falls Cliff complex dates from the 1920s and was built by Noxzema as its first manufacturing facility for lotions, creams and other skin care products. Wiker said the building actually consists of three connected structures, which were built in 1920s, 1940 and 1950s and contain about 130,000 square feet of space in all.

After Noxzema moved out, the building was acquired by Douglas Fox and become home of Fox Industries, a maker of epoxies, coatings and sealants for bridges and other applications. Fox Industries was subsequently acquired by Simpson, which continued to occupy the building, but the Fox family retained the real estate.

Wiker said the building is currently zoned for industrial use and his group is working with the city planning department and City Council to have its zoning changed to permit mixed uses as part of the TransForm rezoning process.

Laurie Feinberg, assistant planning director, said city planners have recommended that zoning be changed to permit mixed uses.

The developers have negotiated a “memorandum of understanding” with Hampden community leaders about the scope of the project and have agreed not to introduce retail activity that would compete with other areas of Hampden.

Wiker said preliminary plans call for the entrance to the maker space to be off Falls Road and for the entrance to the residences to be on the west side of the building.  The maker space will be about 8,000 to 10,000 square feet in size. The residences will have high ceilings, large windows, polished concrete floors and other touches that preserve the building’s industrial character.  Rental rates have not been set.

West side of building
West side of building

The roof will have a common deck or gathering space with views out to the Key Bridge. The stucco exterior will be preserved in keeping with Department of the Interior standards, and much of the undergrowth and vegetation around the building will be cleared away so it is more visible from the Jones Falls Expressway and other vantage points.

“It’s going to be a signature building on I-83,” Wiker said.

Other projects by the Time Group include 520 Park Avenue, the conversion of the former Hochschild-Kohn warehouse to apartments, and 500 Park Avenue, a new apartment building currently under construction next to 520.

In honor of its recent work, the Time Group was recognized as Client of the Year in the 2016 Design Awards program held by the Baltimore chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

Alexander worked with the Time Group on 500 Park Avenue. He was also the architect for Mill No. 1 and Whitehall Mill in the Jones Falls Valley, two projects by Terra Nova Ventures.
Doors Open Baltimore to be held this weekend

More than 50 architecturally significant buildings and places that aren’t always open to the public will be available to visit this weekend during Doors Open Baltimore, an annual event organized by the Baltimore Architecture Foundation and the Baltimore chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

The event is patterned after similar celebrations in New York, London, Chicago and other cities around the world.

Doors Open Baltimore will take place on Saturday, October 22, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Maryland Historical Society in Mount Vernon is the “information hub” for the tour. This year’s sites range from the American Visionary Art Museum on Key Highway to the Church & Company event space in Hampden to the 10 Light Street apartment tower. A complete list of participating sites and scheduled events is available at www.doorsopenbaltimore.org.

Topping out ceremony at Stadium Square

Caves Valley Partners will hold a “topping out” ceremony on Wednesday for the first office building of the $275 million Stadium Square mixed-use development it is building in South Baltimore.

According to the developers, the six story, 72,000-square-foot building at 145 West Ostend Street, featuring on-site parking and ground-level retail space, is on schedule and will be ready for occupancy in the spring of 2017.

Stadium Square is made up of three city blocks in the Sharp-Leadenhall neighborhood, between Cross Street Market and M&T Bank Stadium. The development includes 300,000 square feet of office space; approximately 70,000 square feet of street-level retail space; 650 luxury apartments; a housing project for military veterans, and parking for more than 2,000 cars.

Community improvements will include replacement of dated infrastructure and streetscaping, a new community center, a redone public park with ample green space, playing fields and picnic areas. Caves Valley Partners is also working on the redevelopment of nearby Cross Street Market.

Ground broken for Highland Haus on the former Haussner’s site

The Garver Development Group and Taylor Property Group broke ground this month for Highland Haus, a six-story apartment building designed to replace Haussner’s restaurant at 3232 Eastern Avenue in Highlandtown.

When complete in mid-2017, the building will contain 65 apartment homes and garage parking, as well as first-floor retail space. The exterior will be a combination of brick, stucco and metal panels, with a mosaic mural on one wall. Alexander Design Studio is the architect.

The name Highland Haus makes reference to the building’s location in Highlandtown, the fact that it contains housing, and the fact that it’s replacing Haussner’s. It is developer Peter Garver’s first project for his own account, instead of for others. Taylor Property Group has a 57-unit apartment building called 1212 East in Canton

“We are thrilled to start Highland Haus, which will be catalytic for Highlandtown,” Garver said at the groundbreaking ceremony. “We’ve removed a structure that stood vacant for nearly 17 years, and are replacing it with a vibrant new building that will help energize the Eastern Avenue main street area.”

More information is available at HighlandHaus.com.

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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