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More Multifamily Units, Affordable Housing Renovations Underway In Baltimore

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New apartments are coming to downtown Baltimore and the Station North Arts and Entertainment District this year as the latest example of the city's growing multifamily market.

More Multifamily Units, Affordable Housing Renovations Underway In Baltimore

Ernst Valery said he expects the Nelson Kohl Apartments in Station North to begin leasing in November and December. His firm, SA+A Development, is building 103 apartments with a yoga studio, an art gallery and a Milk & Honey Market.

Valery and his wife operate the café and market, which closed its Mount Vernon location to move to the new spot. The developer will allocate up to 20 units to artists, who will receive discounts on their rent and have their work showcased in common areas and the gallery. The regular rents will range between $1K and $1,800/month for studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments.

More Multifamily Units, Affordable Housing Renovations Underway In Baltimore

SA+A has also formed a joint venture with Stratford Capital Group to renovate two affordable senior housing apartment buldings in Baltimore. Located in West Baltimore's Harlem Park neighborhood, the 151-unit St. James Terrace Apartments will wrap up a $25M renovation in about a year. The building will undergo a complete overhaul, with new elevators, kitchens, plumbing and electrical systems.

"It'll be very involved because the building hasn't been renovated in 40-plus years," Valery said.

The $16M renovation of the 107-unit Park Height Apartments will finish in 12 to 15 months, with new roofing, energy-efficient windows, carpeting, appliances and cabinets. Valery will discuss his multifamily projects at Bisnow's 7th Annual State of the Market panel March 30 at the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore.

More Multifamily Units, Affordable Housing Renovations Underway In Baltimore

Berman Enterprises' conversion of 2 Hopkins Plaza into an apartment building is moving forward. The first units will be move-in ready in July, said Elaine De Lude, vice president of the Rockville developer's new apartment management division LIVEbe. The 183 apartments will occupy floors 11 to 21 with studios, one- and two-bedroom units above 330 parking spots. Apartments will rent for between $1,300 and $2,600/month.

What makes the project unique compared to other multifamily dwellings, De Lude said, is the first 10 floors will hold offices for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which signed a 15-year lease. The federal government will occupy 143K SF starting in 2018.

More Multifamily Units, Affordable Housing Renovations Underway In Baltimore

Located in the heart of downtown, 2 Hopkins is across the street from Royal Farms Arena and two blocks from the Inner Harbor. It faces a central courtyard that will hopefully be reinvigorated with events, De Lude said. The apartments' features include floor-to-ceiling windows that offer city views, quartz countertops and recessed lighting. Amenities include a hotel-style concierge service, a resident lounge, a dog run area, telecommuting spaces and a bike repair station.

The property management firm also hopes to make connections among residents. For example, LIVEbe might connect a resident who wants to learn about the area's history with someone who is knowledgeable about that.

"What can we do to make a connected community?" De Lude said. The division manages two other Berman properties: the 463-unit Glen Oaks Apartments in Greenbelt and the 278-unit the Remy in Lanham.

More Multifamily Units, Affordable Housing Renovations Underway In Baltimore

One reason Baltimore is flush with so many new multifamily developments is because developers are taking advantage of the city's residential tax credit, Ballard Spahr managing partner Jon Laria said. Baltimore is currently weighing whether to extend that credit for another 10 years.

"It's essential to maintain the momentum on market-rate residential," Laria said.

City leaders are also trying to make the city more friendly to alternative methods of transportation. Laria, who will also speak at Bisnow's State of the Market, is chairman of Baltimore's Bicycle Advisory Commission. The city launched a bike-share program last year and recently announced an expansion of the original plan, with a total of 465 bikes in 50 stations. The goal is to also create a network of bike lanes.

"The city has been trying to play catch over the last couple of years to have an alternate mode of transportation," Laria said.