Insiders' Guide To

Locust Point

September 09, 2007|By Sam Sessa | Sam Sessa,Sun reporter

Few neighborhoods reflect the changing face of Baltimore as much as Locust Point.

The hulking Domino Sugars factory topped with its iconic neon sign anchors the South Baltimore neighborhood's historically blue-collar base. But just east along the waterside, developers are converting an old grain silo and elevator into high-rise condominiums and retail. The neighborhood's growing residential core is at the center of the peninsula and ringed by industrial areas.

Contractors are building new brick rowhouses and revamping old ones. Lifelong residents sit on their steps and watch their new young professional neighbors jog by, dogs in tow.

"The earth has turned and the construction is actually happening," said Paul Silberman, president of the Locust Point Civic Association. "It's not just talk."

The housing stock --The Locust Point market has a wide price range. You can pay $150,000 for the shell of a rowhouse to be rehabbed, or spend more than $1 million on a new waterfront place.

A revamped rowhouse is typically two stories with two bedrooms and one full bath; some also have finished basements with a second full bath. The more expensive new rowhouses are wider, three-story buildings with rooftop decks, garages, three bedrooms and three full baths.

Average month's rent --Listed rent for a one-bedroom rowhouse in Locust Point can be as high as $1,200 a month, said Megan Wolfe, an agent with O'Conor & Mooney Realtors. But you can find cheaper digs if you look around.

Crime --"I would rank it as statistically one of the safer areas of the city," said Baltimore Police Department spokesman Sterling Clifford. There were a couple of robberies but no violent crimes last month, he said.

Kids and schools --Francis Scott Key, a public elementary and middle school on Fort Avenue, exceeds city assessment averages for reading and math. Digital Harbor High School in nearby Federal Hill is a technology-focused school that attracts students from across the city. It shares a building with the National Academy Foundation, and both schools met state benchmarks on standardized tests last year. Another option is the Catholic Community of South Baltimore School, a private school for pre-kindergarten through eighth grade.

Dining in --Most residents head to the Shoppers Food Warehouse in the Southside Marketplace, or to the Wal-Mart in nearby Port Covington. For basic necessities, the new Himalayan House doubles as a small grocery store and an Asian takeout spot.

Dining out --Restaurants run the culinary gamut. You can sit down for a crab feast at L.P. Steamers or try a more adventurous meal at Nasu Blanca, a Spanish and Japanese restaurant. The Hull Street Blues Cafe is the go-to place for brunch. And for dessert, drop by the Baltimore Cupcake Co. on Fort Avenue. Recreation/outdoors --The centrally located Latrobe Park has volleyball, basketball and tennis courts as well as a playground. Fort McHenry -- a national historic monument and a favorite destination for joggers -- occupies the neighborhood's eastern tip. There are two Merritt gyms: one in the Foundry building on Fort Avenue and the other in the Tide Point business complex.

Nightlife --From dives such as LP Docks to the upscale wine bar and restaurant the Wine Market, Locust Point has a little bit of everything. Plus, there's plenty of free parking along Fort Avenue, which makes bar- and restaurant-hopping easy.

sam.sessa@baltsun.com

LOCUST POINT BY THE NUMBERS

ZIP code

-- 21230

Homes on the market

-- 50

Average sale price:

-- $350,000*

Average days on the market:

-- 100*

*Information based on 12 sales during the past 12 months, compiled by Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc.

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