What an Old Firehouse, B'more's First Skyscraper and an Old Theater Have in Common
They're the most recent examples of adaptive reuse projects in Baltimore, stretching from the Station North Arts and Entertainment District to Mount Vernon and downtown.
The conversion of the 100-year-old Parkway Theatre in Station North and three adjacent buildings into a premier film center will begin by the end of the year and wrap up summer 2017, says Seawall Development co-founder Thibault Manekin. The Maryland Film Festival will use The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Parkway Film Center to showcase smaller and independent films, while Johns Hopkins University and the Maryland Institute College of Art will use the venue for their joint film program. The 29k SF center will also host live music, lectures and other public events. The partners have raised $15M of the $18M needed to build the film center.
Opened in 1915, the theater has been closed since the mid-1970s. “We’re taking it back to how it looked like in its heyday,” Thibault says.
The project will serve as a catalyst for continued redevelopment in the neighborhood, Thibault says. Developers, business owners and universities have rehabbed and/or leased several properties in recent years. Jubilee Baltimore recently converted the former Centre Theatre at 10 E North Ave for $18M, and Baltimore Arts Realty Corp broke ground last month on an $11M artist incubator and makers space, OpenWorks, opening fall 2016. Pizza shop Joe Squared is moving this month to a bigger space, across from Red Emma’s Bookstore Coffeehouse.
About a mile south, a retired architect, his wife and son have rehabbed a 1908 firehouse and turned it into a microbrewery and 120-seat restaurant and bar, Brew House No. 16, which opened Oct. 21. It took a year to refurbish the nearly 6k SF space in Mount Vernon, co-owner Harry Hummel says. The conversion of the historic building into an industrial chic restaurant cost $1M, including construction, equipment and kitchen supplies. The building at 831 N Calvert was used as a firehouse up until 1989, after which it was used as offices.
Fire engine-red doors and a big bumblebee greet visitors as they walk in. The inside features six brew tanks next to the bar, exposed ductwork and bright red booths. The project isn’t completed just yet. Harry and family plan to turn the second floor into a banquet space and beer hall within six months. The owners plan to turn the basement into a bakery, Harry says.
Eight blocks south, JK Equities is converting the historic Equitable building at 10 N Calvert St into a 189-unit apartment building. The developer is wrapping up the final phase, to be completed Nov. 1, says JK Equities principal Jordan Karlik. The 125-year-old building boasts stately arches and marble, along with a yoga studio, fitness center and rooftop deck. What was once Baltimore’s first skyscraper now features studios and one-bedroom apartments that start at $1,299.