Urban Landscape: Brooklyn in Baltimore; Demolition, Expansions, and More

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New stores moving into Harbor Point
New stores moving into Harbor Point

Here’s another sign that Baltimore is becoming the new Brooklyn: First the city agrees to sell property along Howard Street so Robicelli’s Bakery can move to Baltimore. Now one of Brooklyn’s popular home furnishings stores is planning to open its first long term Maryland location in Harbor Point. 

West Elm, a well known home goods store founded in Brooklyn in 2002, will open in the Exelon Tower in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to Beatty Development Group, the tower’s developer.  The store is one of three commercial tenants that have leased space in the building at 1310 Point Street.

West Elm leased 11,069 square feet at the corner of Dock Street and Central Avenue. Other retailers include CorePower Yoga, a Denver firm that leased 4,000 square feet along Dock Street, and honeygrow, a dining spot from Philadelphia that leased 2,210 square feet along Dock Street.

Owned by Williams Sonoma, West Elm opened a pop up store in Towson Town Center during the 2011 Christmas season. This will be its first non temporary location in Maryland.  The company started in Brooklyn’s DUMBO district and has grown into a national chain. It features contemporary furniture and other housewares, including products from local artisans and makers.

This will be the second Baltimore studio for CorePower Yoga, which has a location at 1420 Key Highway. The Harbor Point studio will offer a variety of yoga class styles for all experience levels. The location will include changing rooms with showers and private lockers.

This will also be the second Baltimore location for honeygrow, which is opening at Nine East 33, the 575-bed student housing development nearing completion at St. Paul and 33rd streets in Charles Village. Both locations will feature locally sourced salads, smoothies, made to order stir-fries and fruit-honey desserts.

The Exelon Tower will house the regional headquarters of the parent company of Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. It is an anchor for the mixed use Harbor Point community taking shape between Harbor East and Fells Point.

“Our vision for Harbor Point has always been to create an urban community that is at the forefront of health and wellness, where residents live easily along Baltimore’s waterfront, walk to work and enjoy outdoor activities,” said developer Michael Beatty. “These three highly sought-after merchants will create the foundation for what is quickly becoming a vibrant neighborhood…We look forward to many new merchant announcements in the coming months.”


Demolition starts on Haussner’s in Highlandtown

Demolition has begun on the Haussner’s restaurant in the 3200 block of Eastern Avenue, to make way for a 65-unit apartment building. One of the first things to come down was a series of concrete medallions on the east side of the building. They are being saved for possible reuse inside the replacement structure. Garver Development Group is the developer, and Alexander Design Studio is the architect.


Woodberry Kitchen has opportunity to expand

 One of the biggest complaints one hears about Spike Gjerde’s Woodberry Kitchen restaurant is that it can be hard to get reservations because it’s so popular. The restaurant could have a lot more seating space by this time next year if it takes over the 2,200-square-foot commercial space that is being vacated by Les Harris’ Amaranthine Museum at 2010 Clipper Park Road in Woodberry.

The family that operates the museum has announced this it is closing its current location on June 12, and hopes to move by fall to a smaller site on the Clipper Mill campus. Woodberry Kitchen shares an entrance with the museum and is the most likely candidate to occupy the museum space, which has the same rustic feel as the restaurant.

A Woodberry Kitchen representative did not respond to a request for comment, but the owners are aware that their neighbor is moving out. According to the museum’s website, Woodberry Kitchen is providing “nibbles and quaffs” for the “closing celebration” from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.


Sonia Hirt named Dean of University of Maryland architecture school

 The University of Maryland has named Sonia A. Hirt to be the next dean of its School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. She will succeed David Cronrath, who became dean in July 2010.

 This marks the first time a woman has been named to lead the school, which is located in College Park but active around the state. Hirt will officially begin her new job on October 1.


Dustin Watson launches inPLACE Design

Architect Dustin Watson has launched inPLACE Design, an architecture, planning, and design firm based in Baltimore and primarily focused on the retail industry. The firm specializes in place-making for mixed-use, urban-infill, and de-malling retail projects that are environmentally responsible and sustainable. Its portfolio also includes high-end hotel and resort facilities, and office and residential projects.  

Watson was previously a partner at DDG. He serves on the Urban Land Institute’s Sustainable Development Council, the International Council of Shopping Centers Retail Green Planning Committee, and the Committee on the Environment of the Baltimore chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

500 Park
A Ceremony on Park Avenue
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and local developers gathered in front of Ceremony Coffee Roasters today for a ceremony to mark the start of construction on 500 Park Avenue, a $30 million, 153-unit apartment building at Park Avenue and Franklin Street.
The developer is a joint venture of the Time Group and the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation. Alexander Design Studio is the architect. Completion is expected by mid-2017.


Advice from Lou Grasmick

 Here’s a bit of advice from Lou Grasmick, the Baltimore businessman and philanthropist who died May 26 at age 91, as told during his funeral by his grandson Joshua Grasmick: “Always write a Thank You card,” “Ask questions,”  “Give back,” and “Try to say a four syllable word every day.”

 Grasmick’s funeral at Grace United Methodist Church was a who’s who of the Baltimore real estate, political and philanthropic communities. Among those in attendance: his widow, former state schools superintendent Nancy Grasmick; Mayoral candidate Catherine Pugh; Kennedy Krieger Institute executive Lainy LeBow-Sachs; Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot; State Sen. Nathaniel McFadden; former Gov. Robert Ehrlich; developers Richard Alter and Carl Julio; Maryland Science Center executive director Van Reiner, architect Peter Fillat, and many of Grasmick’s colleagues from the Louis J. Grasmick Lumber Company.

The cover of the program captured Grasmick perfectly. It featured a black and white photo of him on a boat, squinting in the sun, with Harborplace and the Hyatt hotel in the background. What really stood out in the photo for me was the objectGrasmick was holding in his right hand: a can of Lemon Lime soda from Giant grocery store. He may have been worth millions, but he was the salt of the earth until the end.

Ed Gunts

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