Developer seeks funds to build new apartments

March 08, 1991|By Edward Gunts

A vacant city-owned lot at Eutaw and Mulberry streets would become the site of Eutaw Court, a $4 million, 61-unit apartment complex for low- and moderate-income residents, if developer Jay French can obtain the funding assistance he is seeking.

Preliminary plans presented to Baltimore's Architectural Review Board yesterday call for construction of 18 three-story brick buildings that would look like town houses but actually would contain one-level apartments, which would have access from a courtyard in the middle of the block. There also would be six retail spaces along Eutaw Street and 26 parking spaces.

"It's a very interesting approach because it's basically apartments but they don't look like it," said George Qualls, a review board member.

Baltimore's housing department sought bids two years ago for the parcel bounded by Eutaw, Mulberry, Pierce and State streets and awarded the development rights to Mr. French, the only bidder to submit a proposal. Cho, Wilks & Benn is the architect.

Mr. French said he hopes to raise funds for the project by selling tax credits for low-income housing to an investment syndicate. He also is applying for rental housing production funds from the state's Community Development Administration and is working with Baltimore's Community Development Financing Corp. to obtain a first mortgage.

"There is a certain coolness in the investment market for real estate right now, but apparently these investment syndicates still work," he said. "We thought it was an appropriate project for the area. Our company has other projects in the area, and we believe there is a need for this kind of project."

The French Co. was the developer of Franklin Court, a 29-unit apartment and retail project in the 500 block of W. Franklin Street, and the rehabilitated Charles E. Fish and Sons Building at Eutaw and Franklin streets.

If funding for Eutaw Court comes through in time, Mr. French said, he would like to begin construction later this year and complete work in late 1992. Struever Bros., Eccles & Rouse would be the general contractor and also may have an ownership interest in the project, he said.

Architect David Benn said he believes the project could be a model for the way other vacant urban parcels can be developed.

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