Rest of Schoolhouse Apartments to close

Low-income housing needs costly repairs

all to be shut next month

March 04, 2002|By Eric Siegel | Eric Siegel,SUN STAFF

Abandoning their efforts to keep three of the problem-plagued Schoolhouse Apartments buildings open, Baltimore housing officials said all six of the buildings for low-income residents will close by the end of next month.

The 94 families living in the buildings - part of a once-heralded effort to convert vacant schools into affordable apartments - will be given assistance in relocating and those eligible will get Section 8 vouchers, officials said Friday.

The Housing Authority of Baltimore City decided to close all of the Schoolhouse Apartments after determining that the costs of renovating the buildings was higher than it expected and the property's manager said it would no longer maintain the buildings, according to Michael H. Kramer, head of the city's Section 8 program.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development also terminated its contract on the buildings because of their poor condition, Kramer said, leaving the properties with no source of income.

The Housing Authority wanted to figure out a way to keep three of the buildings open but, Kramer said, "That wasn't doable."

The closings involve buildings at 249 Aisquith St., 1125 N. Patterson Park Ave. and 511 S. Bond St., all in East Baltimore.

In January, the city announced it would shutter Schoolhouse Apartments at 2000 E. North Ave. and 825 N. Broadway on the east side and at 1024 N. Carrollton Ave. in West Baltimore, which were in the worst condition.

The buildings have a total of 132 apartments, many of which are vacant.

Kramer said the city was working to keep the Bond Street building open because it houses senior citizens, who are often harder to relocate.

The city had not yet decided what it might do with the properties after next month, he said.

"Our first interest now has to be the families," Kramer said. "Then we'll deal with the buildings."

A meeting for all residents of the Schoolhouse Apartments is scheduled for tomorrow at 6 p.m. at Pleasant View Gardens.

Efforts to reach the properties' management firm, Massachusetts-based Crowninshield Management Corp., and its partner, local developer Mendel Friedman, were unsuccessful.

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