Good News from North Avenue

October 20, 1991

Just over 50 years ago, North Avenue was such a thriving shopping and entertainment area The Evening Sun reported "the broad, cross-town boulevard from Walbrook to the gate of the Baltimore Cemetery has been called 'Baltimore's Forty-second Street.' " Today, neither North Avenue nor New York's Times Square is faring too well.

Yet there is some good news from North Avenue. In Walbrook, a successful development of new town houses is celebrating its first anniversary. Across from school headquarters at Guilford and North avenues, 13 Queen Anne-style town houses have been renovated into 67 handsome rental apartments. More good news is in store now that the Schmoke administration has decided what to do with a square block bounded by North and Maryland avenues and Howard and 21st streets.

The vacant Royalton building will be converted into 12 cooperative apartments. The Dankmeyer Orthotics and Prosthetics Center will enlarge its existing facility. And two Korean-American businessmen have been awarded exclusive negotiating rights for a development that would bring a cash-and-carry membership store into the area, along with headquarters for the Korean Social Services of Metropolitan Baltimore and a Korean school. The former will be housed in an 1892 firehouse. The school, which is relocating from Goucher College in Towson, will be one of the tenants in a block of Victorian row houses that will be restored.

The membership store, modeled after such suburban stores as Price Club and Pace, should bring more shoppers to the neighborhood where an automotive-service mall has sprung up adjacent to the taxi headquarters of Yellow Transportation. The Korean institutions, for their part, are likely to enhance the area's Oriental presence which already is highly visible in more than 40 Korean-owned businesses ranging from a sign company to dental offices and travel agencies.

The Asian-American community is the fastest growing minority group in Maryland. The increasing number of Korean enterprises along North Avenue could help make that area thrive once again.

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