Larryball: What Station North Would Do With Hogan's $700M
Forget Powerball. How about Larryball? You saw that Gov. Larry Hogan announced a $700M plan to demolish vacant buildings and offer financing to revitalize parts of the city. We asked three developers in the Station North neighborhood how these incentives could help the area (should it receive funding).
“If it were up to me, I would invest in North Avenue,” says Jubilee Baltimore Inc president Charlie Duff. The nonprofit developer last year converted the former Centre Theatre (pictured) at 10 E North Ave, which houses nonprofits, university film programs and jewelry makers. State incentives could be used to build new row homes on some of the vacant land in Greenmount West, particularly the corner of Lanvale and Guilford, says Charlie, who is also executive director of Midtown Development Inc.
Historic tax credits have provided gap funding for several commercial and residential projects in Station North, but the area could still use more office space, says Baltimore Arts Realty Corp CEO Amy Bonitz. BARCO is developing an $11M artist incubator and makers space, OpenWorks, and has converted the former Load of Fun building into an arts facility, called Motor House (pictured).
Amy says she gets calls every week from artists, nonprofits and graphic designers who want to move to the area but have nowhere to go. “We leased out all the studios at Motor House and could fill another building with people on our wait list.”
Developers could also use the state money to revitalize vacant buildings, such as the former Odell’s nightclub at 19 E North Ave, says Center City Inc president Carolyn Frenkil. Carolyn and Mike Shecter spent more than $3M to renovate the North Avenue Market, which houses Red Emma’s Bookstore Coffeehouse, The Windup Space, Liam Flynn’s Ale House (pictured) and Baltimore Print Studios.