Housing group sets sights on ex-schools site

January 26, 1992|By Edward Gunts

Baltimore's former school administration headquarters on East 25th Street, vacant for half a decade, could be converted to a $6 million housing and office complex by the fall of 1993 if city officials accept a proposal from the Baltimore Corporation for Housing Partnerships.

The non-profit housing group, which has its headquarters half a block east of the city-owned school property, submitted a proposal last month to create 56 apartments, office space and a community day-care center in the two-building complex.

The project would be the first mixed-use development tried by the group, which was founded in 1984 and has built or rehabilitated more than 450 residences in Baltimore.

Executive Director Patricia Massey said she believes the vacant headquarters would be ideal for the project, tentatively called Lovegrove Court after the alley it straddles. She said its rehabilitation would do much to stimulate rejuvenation of the area.

"It's in remarkably good condition," she said. "The city has been very vigilant about maintenance. It could be an anchor for the whole southern end of Charles Village."

Ms. Massey said she hopes to fund the construction by borrowing $2 million from the state and $2 million from the city, raising another $2 million from the sale of tax credits to investors.

Plans by Frank Gant Architects call for the building at 33 E. 25th St., constructed in the 1930s, to be converted to 40 apartments for the elderly. The other building, at 3 E. 25th St., which dates from the 1860s, would have a day-care center on its lower level, offices on the middle level and 16 loft apartments on the top level.

The 25th Street complex was vacated when the school system '' moved in the mid-1980s to its current headquarters at North Avenue and Calvert street.

Members of the Charles Village Civic Association voted last week to support the housing partnership's proposal. Bill Toohey, a spokesman for the city housing department, said his office was reviewing the project but would seek other proposals before making a decision.

The Baltimore Housing Partnership also plans to build 21 apartments for the elderly in the former SS. Phillips and James Roman Catholic Church convent and grammar school at 27th Street and Maryland Avenue.

The partnership has a contract to purchase the building from the Johns Hopkins Health System and hopes to receive state funding in time to start work on the $1.5 million project this summer, with completion about a year later. Hord Coplan Macht is the architect.

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