A corner property overlooking historic Lafayette Square is the site of Baltimore's newest affordable-housing development, a three-story condominium complex with prices starting at $59,000.
Developers Paul Bryant and Alex Sotir launched sales last week for the 23-unit development, the second of two they have worked on in the Lafayette Square area.
Lafayette Square Phase II, as the new development is called, is also one of the first projects funded by Baltimore's Community Development Financing Corp., a private organization that Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke established one year ago to help provide affordable housing in Baltimore. The developers of Lafayette Square received a CDFC loan of more than $1.4 million to carry out their project -- the largest of the nine loans made so far by the non-profit lender.
"Where else can you buy houses for $59,000, or $500 a month?" Mr. Sotir said on a recent tour of the project, to be ready for occupancy by year's end. "This is an opportunity for people to quit paying rent and work on building up equity."
"Lafayette Square's Phase II represents a significant piece of thecity's effort to put vacant properties back into production and to turn around their blighting influence on neighborhoods," said Mayor Schmoke. "Lafayette Square is a public-private partnership effort, and it is our goal to continue this process throughout the city."
Although they look like town houses, the Lafayette Square residences technically are triplex units. In the 1200 block of West Lafayette Avenue and in the 900 block of North Carrollton Avenue, each has a one-story unit at street level that is the width of two town houses. Above that condominium are two two-story units, each the width of one town house.
All three residences have about 1,100 square feet of livinspace, including two bedrooms and fully equipped kitchens. The top levels have attractive views of the square, and each residence has off-street parking space, air conditioning and a security system.
Mr. Sotir said he and Mr. Bryant obtained the land by responding to a request for proposals issued by the city.
The project also involves the renovation of large town houses at 1232 and 1234 W. Lafayette Ave. Each of those residences costs $74,700 and contains an "owners' unit" on floors two and three and a smaller, first-floor "granny flat" that the owners can rent out to help cover their mortgage payment.
The conversion of these older houses to contain an owners' unit and a granny flat is being funded with the help of a loan from the state Community Development Administration.
"As far as I know, this is a pilot project for the use of CDA funding," said Mr. Bryant, a Lafayette Square resident. "It makes these larger homes affordble to the families who will be attracted Lafayette Square. I feel confident that this approach will work, and it opens the door for Phase III and IV in Lafayette Square and similar projects throughout the city."
Lafayette Square Inc., the developer, is made up of Baldwin Development Co. and Sotir Construction Co. Harry Furakawa was the architect. More information about Lafayette Square is available from Baldwin Development Co. at 523-4063.