Baltimore civic leaders gathered on Nov. 2 to cut the ribbon the Creativity Center at 3137 Eastern Avenue in Highlandtown. Photo by Ed Gunts.

Baltimore civic leaders gathered on Nov. 2 to cut the ribbon on Highlandtown’s newest arts hub.

The Creativity Center is the name of a $5.2 million multi-purpose arts facility at 3137 Eastern Avenue, built by Creative Alliance as an addition to its flagship location in the renovated Patterson Theater at 3134 Eastern Avenue.

To celebrate the grand opening, Creative Alliance will have an open house at both buildings on Saturday, Nov. 12, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Designed by Quinn Evans Architects and built on the site of the old La Raza Cantina bar, the Creativity Center contains a dance studio, classrooms, a professional kitchen and other spaces to support programs in the visual, performing and culinary arts. Construction began in July 2021.

After an “opening libation and drum call” with WombWork Productions, activities will include: crafts lessons in the storefront classroom; cooking demonstrations in the teaching kitchen; salsa, capoeira and hip hop performances in the dance studio; Sidewalk Serenades; stilt-walkers; drag story time; art studio tours and cocktails in the theater’s Marquee Lounge.

“We can’t think of a better way to celebrate than opening all our doors so you, your family, friends and neighbors can dance, eat, create and explore throughout the day,” organizers said in an invitation to the event. “There’s even free hot chocolate!”

Middle Branch Fitness and Wellness Center opens on Saturday

The Middle Branch Fitness and Wellness Center will open Saturday. Credit: South Baltimore Gateway Partnership.

Farther south, the city of Baltimore is having a Community Celebration Event on Saturday starting at 11 a.m. for the Middle Branch Fitness and Wellness Center, a $23.1 million, 35,000-square-foot “super” recreation center at 201 Reedbird Ave., near the Middle Branch waterfront.

Located in Reedbird Park, the center has been designed to be a regional hub for indoor and outdoor recreation, fitness and wellness with ties to existing trail networks, including the Gwynns Falls Trail and the Middle Branch Trail. It includes three pools; a community room; fitness studios; a gymnasium with a basketball court; a maker space and an indoor walking track.

The fitness center is one of the first major capital projects to open since Mayor Brandon Scott’s administration and the South Baltimore Gateway Partnership launched a multi-year effort to develop and implement a comprehensive plan to guide revitalization of more than 11 miles of waterfront along the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River.

City officials and others had a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday. Future plans for the area include: three additional grass fields, a playground; a fishing pier, a dog park; basketball courts, and a field house.

155-unit, seven-level apartment building proposed for Hampden

A rendering of The Elm Residential, a 155-unit, seven-level apartment building proposed for 3110 Elm Ave. in Hampden. Credit: FILLAT+ Architecture.

The Elm Residential is the name of a 155-unit, seven-level apartment building proposed for 3110 Elm Avenue at the corner of Elm Avenue and 32nd Street in Hampden. Plans shown to Baltimore’s Urban Design and Architecture Advisory Panel called a building with 242 parking spaces “wrapped” on all sides by the residences.

The Segall Group is the developer and FILLAT+ Architecture is the designer. Morris & Ritchie Associates is the landscape architect.

Architect Peter Fillat told the review panel that it isn’t feasible to retain the building on the site, the Free State Bookbindery, so his team is proposing all-new construction. He said the team would include a 90-foot smokestack in the design in hopes of attracting flocks of migratory chimney swifts that now frequent the site in spring and fall. The review panel urged the designers to reduce the size of the building as much as they could.

An Indian restaurant is moving into the former Evergreen Café space in Roland Park

The vacant Evergreen Café space in Roland Park will soon be home to a new Indian restaurant. Photo by Ed Gunts.

The space formerly occupied by Evergreen Café & Deli at 501 West Cold Spring Lane, has a new operator.

Binod Uprety, the co-owner of Namaste Baltimore Indian Cuisine at 413 W. Cold Spring Lane, said he’s planning to open a new Indian restaurant at 501 West Cold Spring Lane, where Evergreen Café & Deli used to be

Uprety and his wife Shrijana took over the old Loco Hombre space at 413 W. Cold Spring Lane in 2015 and opened Namaste. Uprety told members of the Roland Park Civic League this month that the new restaurant will have a range of offerings and he wants to specialize in vegan fare. Uprety said he doesn’t yet have a name for the new restaurant. He said he hopes to open it in three to four months.

Station North building sells at auction for $300,000

A four-story commercial building at 1816 N. Charles Street sold for $300,000. Photo by Ed Gunts.

A four-story, 5,484-square-foot commercial building at 1816 N. Charles Street sold at auction last week for $300,000 to Bradford Phillips of Tyjuan Amor, a construction and development company that’s increasingly active around the Baltimore area. A. J. Billig Auctioneers handled the sale.

The stone-fronted vacant building previously contained a café and five upper-level apartments. Phillips said he plans to stabilize and renovate the building for new tenants. It’s his first investment in the Station North area, where much of the Artscape festival will be held next year.

Billig is also selling a 5,460-square-foot restaurant building at 5722 York Road on Wednesday, Nov. 16, at 11 a.m.

Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower open this weekend for free

Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower. Photo by Marcus Payne via Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower/Instagram.

The Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower at 21 S. Eutaw St. will be open to the public for free Friday, Nov. 11, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., and on Saturday, Nov. 12, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

During these times, visitors will have a chance to view artwork throughout the building, including 15 floors of artist studios. Many of the building’s artist-tenants will be around to talk about their work. For $8, visitors can take a side trip to the clock room at the top of tower, to get an up-close view of the clock’s workings.

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Ed Gunts

Ed Gunts is a local freelance writer and the former architecture critic for The Baltimore Sun.

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