700 new homes proposed for city

Plans for Northeast, Greektown unveiled


New housing developments that would add more than 700 mostly market-rate homes to two Baltimore neighborhoods were unveiled yesterday before a city design panel.

In a second major new development proposed for Greektown, a Towson developer hopes to construct about 230 "two-over-two" market-rate townhouses on about 115 lots, with two units in each four-story structure, on an industrial site north of Gough Street.

And Claremont Freedom Village in Northeast Baltimore will have an estimated 475 market-rate and subsidized townhouses and apartments.

The projects come at a time when the city is experiencing a boom in housing construction, with more than 7,000 new homes in the planning pipeline.

Several national homebuilders have projects under way in Baltimore.

The Greektown North project, proposed by Towson-based Moran Properties, would transform the Servu Trucking operation into up to 232 new homes on slightly less than 10 acres bounded by Lombard Street on the north, Gough Street on the south, Oldham Street on the east and a rail line on the west.

The project, presented yesterday to the city Urban Design and Architecture Review Panel, hinges on rezoning the property from industrial to residential use.

"With Greektown ... you have this strong ethnic community, and when everyone else was fleeing the city of Baltimore, they stayed," said City Councilman James B. Kraft, who represents Greektown.

"It created this rock upon which we are able to build these new projects," Kraft said.

Residents have long hoped new homes would take the place of a trucking operation that caused noise and congestion, said John E. Gavrilis, chief executive officer of the Greektown Community Development Corp.

The historically blue-collar neighborhood is primed for new housing, said Joseph M. Moran, the developer, because of the hundreds of new jobs anticipated as part of the expansion at the nearby Johns Hopkins Bayview campus and at the National Institutes of Health. Hundreds of scientific researchers and support staff are expected to work at the NIH's 563,000-square-foot Biomedical Research Center under construction at Bayview.

Moran, whose company has been building homes for 15 years, said prices for the homes have not been set.

The Greektown North project would be the second major development that could radically transform the neighborhood, spreading the city's east-side renaissance and following a pattern of renewal extending from Locust Point to South Baltimore to Canton.

Banker Edwin F. Hale Sr. plans to build more than 1,000 upscale condos, apartments and townhouses on an industrial swath several blocks south of Eastern Avenue. That $200 million venture, one of the biggest single private residential developments in Baltimore, is expected to jump-start the gentrification of the working-class neighborhood.

Hale, chairman and chief executive of First Mariner Bank and owner of the Baltimore Blast soccer team, has teamed up with KSI Services Inc. of Vienna, Va., in a plan to build the development on about 15 acres where Bob's Transport and Storage Co. operates a trucking company. This month, the design and review panel deferred action on Hale's requested concept approval for the new homes, noting concerns about building heights and the use of public space.

Yesterday, the panel granted final master plan approval to the Claremont Freedom Village project, a private redevelopment of the demolished Freedom Village apartment complex and Claremont Homes public housing, from which residents are being relocated. A 150-unit senior housing structure will be built as part of the new community, being developed by Pennrose Properties LLC, Doracon Development of Baltimore and Westrum Homes of Philadelphia. The team was selected by the city housing department this summer in response to a request for proposals.

The new communitywill feature two- and three-story townhouses, for sale and for rent. Some will be sold at below-market value. The developers will also build a community center.

The design and review panel also granted final approval yesterday to a project to transform a former grain elevator in Locust Point into 208 luxury condos. The Silo Point project now moves to the city Planning Commission, and developer Patrick Turner said he hopes to start construction by December.


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