War Horse shares details for planned row homes in historic Union Square

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A diagram of six planned row houses on Hollins Street, via War Horse Cities/CHAP

Plank family-affiliated War Horse Cities has shared details for a set of three-story row homes it plans to build in historic Union Square in Southwest Baltimore.

Documents shared by the Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation, or CHAP, show a set of six houses planned for 1216-1226 Hollins St., and four more around the corner at 14-20 S. Stockton St. CHAP historic preservation planner Walter Gallas said at a hearing today the homes would be three stories and 33 feet tall, with four of them on Hollins Street having their own garage on the ground floor.

Appearance-wise, renderings show 10 contemporary homes with a mix of brick and other materials on the facades. CHAP’s commissioners raised no objections to the height, scale and massing for the planned dwellings, but recommended War Horse explore using an entirely brick veneer or materials “that are consistent with the historic fabric in the surrounding community” before returning with more detailed design plans.

They also raised questions about the Juliet balconies included in some of the drawings—namely, whether they’re necessary, useful or fit with the surrounding neighborhood—though commissioner Elizabeth Nix did note some blocks nearby have homes with shallow balconies.

CHAP has to approve the plans because that surrounding community is a historic district. Built in the 1830s, Union Square consists of largely two- and three-story Italianate and Federal-style row houses with brick exteriors and decorative cornices, many of them originally built as workforce housing.

On these two particular blocks, the original homes have been demolished, and War Horse has acquired the properties over the last couple years. The developer is also planning to build six row homes at Hollins and Arlington streets.

Dan Rodenburg, the Union Square Association’s representative for CHAP’s Architectural Review Committee, told the panel that the neighborhood association has been looking forward to the development materializing.

Bif Browning, president of the association, said in an email that War Horse presented an update on the project in December 2018. Working with them “has been relatively easy for the community,” he said.

Rodenburg celebrated the new additions for a historic neighborhood that sits close to the harbor but doesn’t see nearly as much—hardly any, he said—development, and has suffered from crime and neglect for years.

“It’s an important stepping stone in many fronts,” he told Baltimore Fishbowl. “Ultimately there hasn’t really been any major redevelopment, or even renovations, on any strong front, and War Horse has been the only one with assets to really do that.”

War Horse was also planning to redevelop Hollins Market nearby—designs showed lots of glass for the new walls and ceilings—though that original timeline has lapsed due to a gap in funding from private and public sources.

The developer will return to CHAP with design details for approval early this year.

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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in CityLab, Slate, Baltimore City Paper, DCist and elsewhere.
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