Real Estate State

The Charm City is dotted with real estate developments either to address housing or for business and pleasure. As such, it may entails the going of a current structure to give way to a more viable building, or a making use of an area and turning to a more usable and beneficial place. Just like any other major cities, Baltimore follow certain rules and procedures, always with the idea of benefiting all, if not, the majority of its residents.

With the surge of population, real estate prices go along with it. And it is the aim, primarily of the government to find and make ways for affordable housing.

Baltimore agrees to ‘historic’ funding of affordable housing

City officials have agreed to fund an affordable housing trust, two years after Baltimore voters approved its creation, committing an eventual $20 million a year, which Mayor Catherine Pugh called “historic.”

Bon Secours Gibbons Apartments is part of a historic mixed-use campus in southwest Baltimore.
Bon Secours Gibbons Apartments, 80 units of affordable housing in Southwest Baltimore. Image courtesy of Affordable Housing Finance

Pugh and City Council leaders agreed to levy two excise taxes on certain real estate transactions and other allocations to fund a trust to create, rehabilitate and preserve more than 4,100 affordable housing units in the next decade. Activists say it will help fill a critical need in a city where low-income residents in particular struggle to find decent homes or apartments to rent or buy.

The agreement calls for excise taxes on the transfer and the recording taxes on real estate sales exceeding $1 million. The excise taxes are estimated to generate $13 million a year. On top of that, the mayor has agreed to allocate $2 million to $7 million annually that, by fiscal 2023, would provide a total of $20 million a year to the trust.

Pugh, who had been under fire for lending her support but not money to the trust, called the agreement a “historic commitment.”

A building industry group criticized the new excise taxes, saying city officials failed to fully consider the cost they would add to developers, business owners and residents.

In addition to the new excise taxes, the agreement calls for Pugh to allocate additional funds to the trust on a sliding and increasing scale. She previously allocated $2 million to the fund for fiscal 2019, and the agreement specifies from $2 million to $7 million annually starting in fiscal 2020.

While details remain to be worked out, the agreement calls for funds to be used to prevent evictions, rehabilitate vacant properties and support community land trusts, which allow for neighborhood groups to purchase, renovate and maintain housing and other amenities.

The agreement came after much pressure from a coalition of activists who were increasingly impatient that the housing trust, which voters approved as a charter amendment in November 2016, had been left unfunded.

Baltimore has long been afflicted by housing problems. A third of its aging rental stock is considered substandard, and 57 percent of renters spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing, the maximum financial experts recommend. A third of renters are squeezed even tighter: More than half their income goes to housing. Full article by Jean Marbella here.

And with the promise and initiative of decent, affordable housing, the need of places for leisure also rises.

Streets Market Cafe will open in Southeast Baltimore

Streets Markets Cafe, an independent grocer that focuses on healthy foods, will open in Southeast Baltimore as part of redevelopment of the former PEMCO factory site.

Yard 56 rendering
Artist perspective of Yard 56 in East Baltimore. Image courtesy of MCB Real Estate

The store in “Yard 56” at 5601 Eastern Ave. will be the second Streets in the city and the seventh in the Maryland, Northern Virginia and Washington region. Streets signed a lease for 23,000 square feet in the center, which is under construction.

Streets is expected to help fill a void for a grocery store on the city’s eastern side, said P. David Bramble, managing partner of MCB Real Estate, the project’s developer. The store will tap into consumer demand for locally grown and produced products, he said.

The concept caters to urban-oriented shoppers who want organic, conventional, local and international items in a small store format, said Campbell Burns, vice president of Hana Food Distributors/Streets Markets. Its stores offer fresh produce, seafood, meat, packaged goods, baked goods, household products and prepared meals with an emphasis on organic, natural and traditional household staples.

Work started in May on Yard 56, the 20-acre former factory site across Eastern Avenue from Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. It will include a first phase of more than 100,000 square feet of commercial office space and 80,000 square feet of retail space. LA Fitness has also signed on as a tenant. The project is slated for completion sometime next year.

The site is the former factory that made specialized enamel products, such as the orange tiles for Howard Johnson hotels. It closed in 2006 after 95 years. MCB bought the polluted site for $3 million in 2014 and invested in environmental clean-up. Full article by Lorraine Mirabella here.

Life and leisure all rolled into one place. Baltimore is truly worthy to be called as the Charm City. Already a resident but wanting to transfer to a more “newer” community in the city? Or wanting to be near to leisure developments? Dependable Homebuyers can help you finance that transfer!

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