Vintage buildings being razed

Lakeside Apartments under HUD wrecking ball

June 17, 1999|By Tim Craig | Tim Craig,SUN STAFF

Druid Park Lake Drive resident David Lehman wasn't disappointed to see Baltimore lose a piece of its history yesterday. As demolition continued on Lakeside Apartments, one of the city's first major public housing complexes, Lehman said he welcomed its downfall.

"It was a breeding ground for brats and rats," said Lehman, who has lived next to the buildings in the Reservoir Hill neighborhood for 10 years.

National Wrecking Corp. of Clinton began demolishing the three-story apartment buildings at 747, 735, and 825 Druid Park Lake Drive last week. The demolition will be completed by mid-July.

The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development seized the properties from Lakeside Apartments Limited Partnership Inc. in 1997 and began relocating the tenants, after HUD officials determined that the site was too dilapidated to meet agency standards. The three buildings, which contained 100 units, were vacated last year.

"We determined that the owner had no alternative but to give up the project because we stopped paying Section 8 [rental subsi- dies] because it did not meet housing standards," said James Kelly, a community builder in HUD's Maryland office.

HUD is paying $200,000 for the demolition. The vacant lots will be turned over to the city and will remain vacant until market-rate housing can be built, said John Wesley, a city housing department spokesman.

New development would compliment the renovation of the nearby Riviera Apartments at 901 Druid Park Lake Drive. HUD also seized that building from Lakeside Apartments Limited Partnership in 1997, but determined that it should be renovated into 55 apartments, most with views of Druid Lake across the street.

Built in the 1920s, the buildings being razed were originally named the Alhambra, Cordova and Seville. They were renamed Lakeside Apartments in the early 1970s after the neighborhood's predominantly Jewish population began leaving and a coalition of city business leaders and politicians bought the buildings.

In 1971, they announced they were applying for federal mortgage assistance and other subsidies under the Housing Act of 1968.

Major renovations, at a cost of $1.25 million, were completed in May 1972, but by 1974, tenants were protesting building conditions.

Vance Patterson, 26, watched yesterday as demolition equipment scooped up the stucco building siding. "I just had to stop when I saw they were finally bringing that thing done," he said. "I'm glad they are knocking that thing down."

HUD officials said the last surviving partner of Lakeside Apartment Limited Partnership, Alvin Greenfield, died 18 months ago.

Pub Date: 6/17/99

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