Developers plan to convert the former Shofer’s warehouse at 836 Leadenhall St. into 165 market-rate apartments. Photo by Ed Gunts.

The former Shofer’s furniture warehouse at 836 Leadenhall St. will become the site of 165 market-rate apartments, under a plan presented Thursday by Workshop Development and Consolidated Equities Corporation.

Several dozen South Baltimore residents gathered inside the century-old warehouse Thursday to learn about the proposed development, which will be designed by PI.KL Studio.

The block-long building has been a storage facility for Shofer’s Furniture, a retailer that closed its store at 930 S. Charles St. in March 2021. Before that, it housed Gaines McHale Antiques and Home, which later moved to Harbor East and eventually closed in 2008.

Currently used as retail space, the Leadenhall Street building was acquired by the developers earlier this year. It’s also the base for the production team that has been filming “Lady in the Lake” for Apple TV+ this year.

Workshop principals Doug Schmidt and Richard Manekin said they hope to save part of the brick front of the existing building and incorporate it into their development, while adding new sections rising four and six stories. Their plans also call for 165 parking spaces.

The informational meeting was hosted by Councilman Eric Costello. Residents asked questions about a variety of topics, including the project’s impact on traffic, parking, crime, rats, trash and general congestion in the area, which is where Otterbein meets Sharp Leadenhall.

One resident noted that 165 apartments will mean more dogs that will need to be walked in the area and asked where the animals will relieve themselves; Schmidt said the project will address that. Some area residents have said they’d like to see a branch of Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods Market, but a grocery store wasn’t part of the plan presented Thursday.

Costello said the meeting was the first step in informing the community about the as-yet unnamed development and that other meetings will follow as design work progresses. No plans have been disclosed, meanwhile, for the shuttered Shofer’s building on Charles Street.

10-story apartment building proposed for 1300 Bank Street

A rendering of a 10-story, 183-unit apartment building proposed for 1300 Bank Street. Credit: MRA City Studio.

The principals of Workshop Development had a busy day Thursday, unveiling plans for a second large apartment building along the Central Avenue corridor in East Baltimore.

1300 Bank Street is the name and location of a 10-story building that would contain 183 apartments and 91 to 94 parking spaces, according to plans presented to Baltimore’s Urban Design and Architecture Advisory Panel.

The development parcel is on the eastern edge of Little Italy and north of Harbor Point, and the project is a sign that private investment is moving inland from Baltimore’s revitalized harbor. In this case, Workshop is collaborating with CLD Partners, headed by Christopher Mfume, and Canal Group, the property owner. MRA City Studio, the architecture and urban design arm of Morris & Ritchie Associates, is the architect.

The building will rise in place of Mustang Alley’s Bar, Bowling and Bistro. Team members said it will contain apartments in a range of sizes, with a café at street level and a south-facing outdoor deck and other tenant amenities on the third level. The land is zoned to permit commercial development rising up to 60 feet; the developers will need a conditional use zoning waiver to build up to 100 feet, the height of the proposed structure.

The total number of apartments planned for the two Workshop projects: 348.

Under Armour track and field facility taking shape in Port Covington

The Under Armour track and field facility in Port Covington. Photo by Ed Gunts.

Work is nearing completion on a track and field facility that Under Armour is building as part of its global headquarters campus in Port Covington. The field is west of Building 37, a two-story work setting that Under Armour created inside a former Sam’s Club branch, with seating west of the multi-purpose field. The next phase is a 280,000-square-foot office building along East Cromwell Street.

Nov. 12 is the grand opening date for Creative Alliance’s Creativity Center

Creative Alliance will hold a grand opening for its new Creativity Center on Eastern Avenue next month. Photo by Ed Gunts.

Creative Alliance has set Saturday, Nov. 12, as the grand opening date for the Creativity Center, a $5.6 million multi-purpose arts facility across the street from its flagship location inside the renovated Patterson Theater at 3134 Eastern Ave.

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 with a groundbreaking ceremony in July 2021.

Creative Alliance is planning an open house in both of its buildings and other events from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Nov. 12 to mark completion of work on the Creativity Center, which now helps frame a “cultural gateway” to Highlandtown’s Arts and Entertainment District.

Bolton Hill’s ‘Nut and Bolt’ sculpture refreshed

Mount Royal Elementary/Middle School on Friday celebrated the $73,000 restoration of the school’s colorful “Nut and Bolt” sculpture. Photo by Ed Gunts.

Principal Stephen Skeen of Mount Royal Elementary/Middle School on Friday joined with students and teachers there to cut a ribbon and celebrate the $73,000 restoration of the school’s colorful “Nut and Bolt” sculpture, one of Baltimore’s “one percent for art” projects.

The school is located at 121 McMechen St. in Bolton Hill. Completed in 1982, the sculpture was a collaboration between artist Art Benson, former chair of the undergraduate Sculpture Department at the Maryland Institute College of Art, and architect Jim Pettit. It was created to enhance a two-level pedestrian bridge that linked two structures on the school’s campus. After nearly four decades, the sculpture’s vibrant colors had faded and parts of it were rusting and needed caulking.

Art Benson, who created the “Nut and Bolt” sculpture for Mount Royal Elementary/Middle School in 1982 in collaboration with architect Jim Pettit, attends a ribbon cutting ceremony Friday for the newly restored sculpture.

The Maryland State Art Council allocated $50,000 to restore and conserve the sculpture. PNC Bank contributed $5,000 and the rest was raised from a combination of public and private sources. The conservators, Lori Trusheim and Diane Fullick, consulted with Benson, now 84 and still making art, on issues such as identifying the original colors to use in the restoration.

Benson, who attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony, said he was pleased with the way it turned out. He said his goal in the 1980s was to take a utilitarian structure and make it more of an “event” for the students and teachers who use it every day.

“I think they did an excellent job,” he said. “I think it looks better than when I installed it.”

Why the theme of Nuts and Bolts?

“Nuts and bolts represent growth, and there’s a lot of growth going on here” at the school, said instrumental music teacher Russell Kirk, during the ceremony. The sculpture “represents the growth that happens here.”

“Projects like these show our students that we care about them,” said Skeen, the principal. “It’s building a bridge to a future that our kids can see.”

Univest Bank and Trust Company coming to Baltimore County

Univest Bank and Trust Company signed a lease for 6,250 square feet of space at 10801 Tony Drive in Lutherville-Timonium. Credit: MacKenzie Commercial Real Estates Services.

Univest Bank and Trust Company, which operates as the retail division for Univest Financial Corporation, has signed a lease with Valley Gateway, LLC for 6,250 square feet of space at 10801 Tony Drive in the Lutherville-Timonium section of Baltimore County.

The site will be the first Maryland office for the Souderton, Pennsylvania-based financial institution, which lists assets of approximately $6.7 billion. Bill Whitty and Henson Ford of MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services represented the landlord in this transaction. Scott Wingrat of Cresa represented the tenant.

Founded in 1876, Univest Financial Corp. provides financial solutions for individuals, businesses, municipalities and nonprofit organizations through a network of more than 50 offices throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. It announced plans earlier this year to move into the Baltimore and Pittsburgh markets.

10801 Tony Drive is a two-story, partially stone-clad, 12,000-square-foot building that was built in 1976 and rises like a castle on a hill across Falls Road from Green Spring Station. It was one of the last buildings designed by the late Warren Peterson of Peterson and Brickbauer. Long and Foster occupied the entire building previously. Univest plans to opens its office there in the first quarter of 2023.

Univest wanted a distinctive building in a busy, upscale location for its first Maryland office, Ford said in a statement. MacKenzie is handling all property management and leasing for the building.

“With its entry into the Baltimore area, it was essential for Univest Bank and Trust to establish its first locations in high-profile areas with direct access to major highways and above-average demographics, and the financial institution accomplished these objectives with its lease at 10801 Tony Drive,” he said.

“With four private schools in the immediate area, this section of Baltimore County is heavily traveled each morning and afternoon, with the adjacent Green Spring Station attracting a high volume of employees, shoppers and medical patients throughout the day,” he added.

“The unique stone exterior of the building, and iconic appearance, is in keeping with Univest Bank’s mission to stand out from the existing competition in the financial services industry. Additionally, the landlord’s willingness to create additional surface parking spaces, plans for a new building elevator, and other capital improvements helped to secure the deal.”

Senator Theatre turns 83

The Senator Theater is celebrating 83 years in business. Photo by Ed Gunts.

The Senator Theater turned 83 this week, according to its marquee. The Art Deco landmark at 5904 York Road, designed by John Zink, was built by Durkee Enterprises at a cost of $250,000 and opened on Oct. 5, 1939, with 1,150 seats. It now has three smaller theaters next to the main one and shows first-run movies and classics.

The first film shown at the Senator was “Stanley and Livingstone,” starting Spencer Tracy, Nancy Kelly, Cedric Hardwicke and Walter Brennan. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989, its sidewalk bears the names of numerous celebrities who have had movie premieres there over the years.

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Ed Gunts

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