Group's headquarters to expand Addition: For the third time in 15 years, a nonprofit organization will improve property on Charles Street.

Urban Landscape

December 31, 1998|By Edward Gunts | Edward Gunts,SUN STAFF

WHEN THEY WERE constructed about 1900, the stone- fronted buildings at 1110 and 1112 N. Charles St. in Balti- more served as resi- dences for well-to-do Baltimoreans. From 1926 to 1996, they were owned by Miller Brothers Co., a local clothier and furrier.

Starting next year, they will have a new life: The American Urological Association plans to convert them to an addition for its national headquarters at 1120 N. Charles.

"We're going to need it," said Deborah Scoblick, the association's director of administration. "We're completely out of space right now."

The conversion will mark the third time in 15 years that the nonprofit organization has fixed up property in the 1100 block of N. Charles to house its growing operation, which represents 14,000 members internationally.

The organization bought and renovated the former French Shop building at 1120 N. Charles St. and the former Rolfe's Travel Agency building at 1126 N. Charles St. It acquired the five-level Miller Brothers building for $165,000, according to city records, and plans to spend $2 million for renovations.

The AUA is one of a growing number of nonprofit organizations that have decided to make their homes in Baltimore, along with the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Catholic Relief Services and Lutheran World Relief.

It was founded in 1902 as an advocacy organization for urologists and moved to Baltimore in 1952, when a Baltimorean named William P. Didusch became its executive director. After occupying space above the French Shop for many years, it acquired the building and completed extensive renovations in the mid-1980s. The travel agency building was renovated last year.

Besides housing offices for the urological association, which has more than 60 employees, the Charles Street complex houses the American Foundation for Urologic Disease, an affiliated research and information center with eight employees, and the AUA's William P. Didusch Museum, which opened in 1972 and reopened last month after extensive renovations.

Plans designed by Melville Thomas Mobley Architects Inc. of Baltimore call for the former Miller Brothers building to get a new east facade that will be compatible with its neighbors. The interior will be upgraded to contain offices and meeting space, including an executive board room and kitchen. Henry H. Lewis Contractors is the construction manager and general contractor for the project, scheduled for completion in November.

Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, who attended the museum's reopening, said he is grateful for the organization's strong commitment to Baltimore.

"The American Urological Association is vitally important to our community," he said. "The number of meetings here, the number of employees here and now the expansion -- it's great for the city."

Design competition planned for Baltimore

Architects, landscape architects, planners and urban designers around the country will have an opportunity to propose a 21st-century prototype community for Baltimore by participating in a national design competition next year.

Organizers are launching the competition to find strategies that can help reverse patterns of abandonment and disinvestment in "depopulated" urban neighborhoods with high rates of vacant housing.

The competition is coordinated by the nonprofit Neighborhood Design Center of Baltimore and the Historic East Baltimore Community Action Coalition. Awards include cash prizes of $15,000, $5,000 and $2,500 and a student award of $1,000.

Solutions are being sought for the redevelopment of the historic Middle East neighborhood, a community of traditional 19th-century rowhouses north and east of the Johns Hopkins medical campus in East Baltimore. It has about 1,000 vacant homes, nearly 3 percent of the city's vacant housing stock.

The competition is open to individuals, companies and students. The deadline for registration is March 2 and the deadline for entries is not firm but probably will be in the spring. More information is available from NDC at 1401 Hollins St. or by calling 410-233-9686.

Entries will be displayed in public after the deadline, and the coalition may commission the winning firm or individuals to "further implement their designs."

Pub Date: 12/31/98

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