Homebuilding still sluggish in 1st quarter


May 12, 1991|By Edward Gunts

Housing construction in the Baltimore region still hasn't picked up, according to a building permits survey released by the Baltimore Regional Council of Governments last week.

Local governments in the Baltimore region issued permits for 1,887 residences in the first quarter of 1991. That represented a 52 percent drop from the 3,930 permits issued during the first quarter of 1990, according to the council.

That was the lowest quarterly total since the recession year of 1982, when permits were issued for just 1,009 units in a three-month period.

The region's multifamily housing market was particularly depressed.

Permits for only 68 units were issued during the first three months of 1991. That compares with the permits for 1,458 multifamily units that were issued during the same period in 1990.

Meanwhile, during the first quarter of 1991, permits were issued for 1,819 single-family residences, compared to the 2,472 permits issued for single-family residences during the first quarter last year.

The council, a non-profit agency, attributed the drop in figures to several factors.

For example, the council said, a surge of permits for multifamily ,, units were issued in January 1990 as builders tried to beat legislation that would have required more expenditures to make units accessible to the disabled.

Other reasons for the slowdown, according to the council, were the credit crunch and federal legislation that made rental housing less desirable to investors.

The council's survey also showed declines in the value of additions, alterations and repairs that were made on residential and nonresidential buildings.


Eight Baltimore landmarks have been cited in the 199Preservation Awards program sponsored by Baltimore Heritage. The awards, which will be presented Wednesday during the group's annual meeting at the USF&G Mount Washington Conference Center, recognize excellence in rehabilitation, restoration or adaptive reuse of older buildings.

This year's winners include:

* Alcott Place, the conversion of a former elementary school at Reisterstown Road and Keyworth Avenue to 44 apartments. Betty Jean Murphy and Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse were the developers. Cho, Wilks and Benn Inc. was the architect and Struever Bros. was the general contractor.

* Evergreen House, the restoration of the former home of John Work and Alice Warder Garrett at 4545 N. Charles St. The Johns Hopkins University is the owner and developer. Mesick, Cohen Waite Architects was the architect. Henry H. Lewis Contractors Inc. was the general contractor.

* The Old Waverly History Exchange and Tea Room at 414 E. 31st St. Donna Beth Joy Shapiro and Fred Shoken are the owners and developers.

* Seton Court, the conversion of the former Seton High School to headquarters for the Johns Hopkins Health Plan. Henry J. Knott Development Co. is the owner and developer. Frank Gant Architects was the restoration architect. Seim Contracting Co. was the contractor.

* Restoration of the 1906 Steam Tug Baltimore, located at the Baltimore Museum of Industry on Key Highway. Stephen Heaver Jr. is head of the museum's tug committee.

* Restoration of the 1925 neon sign at T. G. Tochterman & Sons at 1925 Eastern Ave. T. G. Tochterman & Sons is the owner, and Belsinger Sign Works Inc. is the contractor.

A special Block by Block preservation award will be given to the Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. for its ongoing efforts to preserve the facade of its headquarters building at Lexington and Liberty streets, with Ehrenkrantz, Eckstut and Whitelaw serving as architects and Culbertson Restoration Ltd. as the developer.

A preservation honor award will be presented to Project Liberty Ship Inc., and the Douglas H. Gordon Award for Preservation Advocacy will be presented to the Patriots of Fort McHenry.

More information about the program is available from Baltimore Heritage President Fred Shoken at 366-7724.


Around the region:

* Baltimore County Executive Roger B. Hayden will be the keynote speaker at the annual meeting of the Towson Development Corp., which will be held May 15 at 7:30 p.m. at the Alumni House on the Goucher College Campus.

* On May 15 at 2 p.m., the Society for the Preservation of Federal Hill will celebrate the designation of Fells Point as the first district in Maryland to be added to the National Register of Historic Places. Following the celebration, which will be held in Fells Point's Market Square, the preservation society will open an exhibit entitled "Fell's Point -- Maryland's First National Historic District," inside Brown's Wharf at the foot of Broadway.

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