Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Caves Valley adds affordable units in Sharp Leadenhall

Stadium Place is a massive multi-phase apartment complex with some retail that will transform the edge of the historic African American community of Sharp Leadenhall. The project will be developed on former industrial sites and not displace residences except for five old rowhouses that will be partially incorporated in the project. The development of the sites represents a bridge-head in the direction of what is now the Casino site.

In spite of some risk that the community may come under some gentrification pressures form both sides (Federal Hill on the one and Stadium Place on the other), the community has been generally receptive to the project. After UDARP had given it final approval in the summer (following a rather critical review in March) all was pretty quiet.
Rendering of the new development as seen from Cross Street
(Design Collective)

Now SouthBaltimore.com reports good news: The project developers will undertake a partnership with TBS, a local non-profit providing services for Veterans. The article in SouthBaltimore.com says about TBS:
Started 26 years ago, TBS is “an innovative therapeutic residential treatment program supporting veterans and others who are transitioning through the cycle of poverty, addiction and homelessness to self-sufficiency.” It has a facility at 140 W. West in South Baltimore, adjacent to Stadium Square, as well as a facility in Sandtown Winchester.
“The Baltimore Station has been a community member in South Baltimore for 26 years and has a long-running history serving the homeless population. We are thrilled to be part of the exciting Stadium Square redevelopment happening in our community to ensure that we don’t forget those that are most needy,” TBS Executive Director John Friedel told SouthBMore.com.
During the UDARP presentation that corner of the project with the partially preserved five rowhouses had been not fully resolved as far as uses above the planned retail. The entire project had been presented as "market rate" without any affordable component. The new partnership will change that since the units for Veterans will be affordable.  The absense of any affordable component on such a large project had been troublesome, especially given that Sharp Leadenhall isn't an affluent community but has not many modern affordable apartment type units. The Baltimore City Zoning Code has a requirement for inclusion of affordable units for projects over 50 units, but that section is never enforced.
A view of the massing of the first block (Design Collective)

As noted in other article I wrote about housing, Baltimore is suffereing an affordable housing crisis like much of the country, in spite of an abundance of housing units overall and many houses having been left unoccupied.

The inclusion of the five historic houses will also provide an authentic overlay to the new complex which could easily suffer from a certain uniformity that comes from when so much is designed in the same time frame.

Klaus Philipsen, FAIA

See also on this Blog:

Sharp Leadenhall - another Bethesda?

Links to press reports about the project:
BBJ
SouthBaltimore.com Report about Veterans Housing as part of Stadium Place