A revival for Ednor Gardens-Lakeside


Prices fell with stadium, but homes in demand now

July 25, 2004|By Natasha Lesser | Natasha Lesser,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

It was a sad day for Reba Bullock when the Orioles played their last game at Memorial Stadium in 1991.

"I liked listening to `Ed-die! Ed-die!' said Bullock, a 30-year resident of Ednor Gardens-Lakeside, recalling the years when home-run hitting Eddie Murray played first base.

After Memorial Stadium closed in 1997, the Northeast Baltimore neighborhood went through a period of uncertainty. The stadium had been the neighborhood's anchor, and residents feared the worst. Property values decreased, and some decided to leave, selling for less than they had paid.

But others stuck it out, not ready to give up on the neighborhood they loved.

The waiting paid off.

The turning point came when the stadium was finally razed in 2001. The city had decided in 1999 to approve the Govans Ecumenical Development Corp. (GEDCO) plan to turn the old stadium site into an affordable retirement community, Stadium Place, and a YMCA (set to open in September). With progress on the site, property values began rising again for the first time in about eight years.

Other positive additions to the neighborhood and surrounding areas include renovation of the old Eastern High School for use by the Johns Hopkins University as an administrative building, and a Giant supermarket that opened Thursday in Waverly.

Most houses in the neighborhood attract multiple bids, and buyers end up paying more than the asking price. During the past six months, said Brian Hannan, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, property values have risen about 20 percent.

Rob Baillet, 27, had been looking for a house in the area since February.

"I was beat out of houses about two to three times," said Baillet, who recently bought a home on Monterey Road. "My girlfriend saw it on a Web site. I called my agent, came over, looked at it and bought it. They were asking $105,000. I paid $108,000."

Many houses are going for more. The most desirable homes, Hannan said, are on 36th Street and in the 3600 blocks of several other streets. An English-style rowhouse in the 3600 block of Elkader Road is being sold for about $150,000, a new high for the neighborhood. Last year, the house might have gotten $115,000.

"A lot of young people are moving here," said Baillet, who started looking in the area because he had friends living there. Baillet wanted to buy in Hampden, where he had been renting, but it got too expensive. When he discovered Ednor Gardens-Lakeside, he liked it.

"It's one of the best values in town, and it has character," said Hannan, a resident for 12 years. "The houses are well-built and it has greenery."

Most of the houses were built by developer Edward J. Gallagher and his sons from the post-World War I era through the 1950s.

Gallagher named the neighborhood Ednor for his sons, Edward and Norman.

Lakeside's name comes from nearby Lake Montebello. The two areas have associated themselves.

The neighborhood is best known for its stone-and-stucco English-style rowhouses with large sun rooms, built in the 1920s and 1930s. Also notable are the Normandy-style rowhouses of the same period.

During the late 1930s, Gallagher began building red-brick, American neoclassical rowhouses, copying a housing type then popular in Homeland and Rodgers Forge. The area also has cottage-style, semidetached and detached houses.

Lakeside, which was built by several developers including Gallagher, has brick rowhouses, bungalows, brick saltboxes, Spanish-influenced homes and Georgian mansions.

This summer, Ednor Gardens-Lakeside was added to the National Historic Register because of its architectural history. Residents can get tax breaks for home improvements if the work adheres to historical guidelines.

Alexis Schofield, 51, has lived in the neighborhood her whole life. She lives in the house on Loch Raven Boulevard that her parents bought in 1949. When her mother died three years ago, Schofield thought she'd sell, but the more she thought about leaving, the more she realized she loved the area and her house.

"Now I know why my mother lived here," Schofield said. "It's home."

That sentiment is echoed by many in the neighborhood.

Bob Brandell, who lives in the 3700 block of Ednor Road in a red-brick neocolonial, has been a block captain for two years. A math teacher at Calvert Hall College High School in Towson, Brandell has lived in the neighborhood for 5 1/2 years.

As block captain, Brandell helps organize neighborhood events. In September, he and his co-block captain, Zelda Purvis, planned a day of planting flowers and installing shutters for his block. After the work, they had a cookout.

"Now when people come to the block," Brandell said, "they say, `Wow, there's something about this block that says people work together.'"

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