St. Ambrose housing center marks 1,000th renovation Rowhouse to be rebuilt with $30,000 bank gift

June 28, 1996|By Ernest F. Imhoff | Ernest F. Imhoff,SUN STAFF

With the slash of crowbars, affordable-housing leader Vincent P. Quayle and bank official William Cooper tore the covering board off the front door of the vacant 437 Ilchester Ave.

It was ceremonial; real construction starts shortly. But 35 neighbors clapped and then munched cookies at a genuine milestone -- the 1,000th renovation of a Baltimore home since 1974 by St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center, a national pioneer in low- and moderate-income housing.

"This is good," a neighbor said about the prospect of a new neighbor replacing the boarded-up shell.

The rowhouse is being salvaged by a $30,000 gift from NationsBank. "A healthy urban core is vital to what we do," said Cooper, the bank's Greater Baltimore president.

Quayle, founder and executive director of the housing organization, praised that aid as vital to his mission of helping families buy their first homes in some older Baltimore neighborhoods.

St. Ambrose has helped almost 5,000 families do this.

The bank also is a partner with St. Ambrose on two loans and a line of credit totaling nearly $500,000.

In 1995, the bank lent $152 million for low- and moderate-income housing in Baltimore, it said.

Quayle commended residents of Harwood, just east and north of Charles Village, for their current cleanup campaign.

"Harwood is pulling itself together with a massive face lift," he said.

"We helped 100 families buy their own homes here," he said. "We will help you more by rehabing 15 houses here and in Waverly."

Terri Cattaneo, a carpenter at St. Ambrose starting in 1982 and main construction manager since 1986, pronounced the two-story house an easier job than many of the 500 rehabilitations she has overseen. It was damaged by fire eight years ago.

"This is a complete gut," she said. "It'll go more smoothly than some because it's gone inside. This will take four months, then we'll sell it. We have three construction companies working on the 15 houses. They'll do all the homes in nine months."

Harwood has 34 percent home ownership of its 1,912 homes, said Ralph Moore, acting development supervisor of St. Ambrose. "We can get that up to 50 percent in 10 years," he said.

He thanked the bank for also contributing 25 trees. "It's a symbol of the future," he said. "And it's nice to have the shade."

Pub Date: 6/28/96

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