City officials to vote on Chateau plan this morning

Rental units would have low-income, market rates

July 17, 2002|By Tom Pelton | Tom Pelton,SUN STAFF

Baltimore officials are to vote this morning on a proposal to provide $1.1 million toward an $8.9 million project to renovate a vacant and blighted eight-story apartment building overlooking Druid Lake.

At a cost of about $190,000 per unit, Pennrose Properties and two development partners are proposing to build 47 rental apartments in the Chateau building at 903 Druid Park Lake Drive.

Three-quarters of the units will be subsidized for renters who make less than about $28,000 a year (for a single person), while the others will be offered at market rates, according to a proposal to be considered this morning by the city's Board of Estimates.

Pennrose, more than a year ago, received $1.9 million from the city to renovate the 55-unit Riviera apartment building next door at 901 Druid Park Lake Drive. But when that building was finished, its twin next door remained an ugly deterrent to efforts to revitalize the neighorhood, said JoAnn Copes, assistant housing commissioner.

Although the cost per unit is high, Copes said, the benefits to the neighborhood will be great. The price tag is high, in part, because renovating historic buildings tends to be difficult, Copes said.

"The Reservoir Hill neighborhood has enormous potential ... and we hope this will help add confidence to the neighborhood as an investment opportunity," said Laurie Schwartz, deputy mayor for economic development.

Most of the $8.9 million project will be funded through state and federal low-income and historic-restoration programs. Pennrose and its partners will receive about $1 million in developers' fees while contributing almost no cash, according to records and officials.

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