Medical Arts Building to become Algonquin apartments again

Baltimore design board OKs conversion to "high-end" residency

  • The Algonquin was built about 1914 and converted to doctors' offices in the 1940s.
The Algonquin was built about 1914 and converted to doctors'… (Handout )
March 17, 2010|By Edward Gunts | ed.gunts@baltsun.com

The Algonquin was known as one of Baltimore's finest apartment buildings when it opened around 1914, with fluted columns, parquet floors, oak paneling and fireplaces in many of the residences.

The renowned architect William Nolting, of Wyatt and Nolting, designed the building at 11 E. Chase St. and lived in apartment E-8 for nearly 20 years. In the 1940s, the nine-story building was converted to doctors' offices and became known as the Medical Arts Building.

Now it's set to go back to its original use and name, under a $5 million plan to turn it back to "high-end" apartments.

Baltimore's Board of Municipal and Zoning Appeals on Tuesday approved the owner's application to convert the mostly vacant building to 56 apartments. No one from the surrounding community voiced opposition.

The owner is Daejan 11 E. Chase LLC, an affiliate of a London-based company that owns several apartment buildings in the Baltimore area, including 1010 St. Paul St., St. Paul Court in Charles Village and Balmoral Towers in Baltimore County.

Samuel Monderer, a representative for Daejan, said his group wants to restore and upgrade the building to attract working professionals and others who want to live within easy walking distance of downtown to the south and Penn Station to the north.

He and architect Cass Gottlieb of Kann Partners said the building is full of original details that they want to retain as part of the conversion, including paneling, bathtubs and terra cotta features on the exterior. "We're trying to keep as much of the historic building as possible," Monderer said.

Sixty percent of the apartments will be one-bedroom units, and 40 percent will be two-bedroom units, with a gym in the basement and parking on an adjoining lot. The owners plan to install new mechanical systems and restore the exterior. Gottlieb said this will be one of the first restorations being designed to comply with the city's new requirements for "sustainable" design.

Monderer said his group has owned the Algonquin since 2002 and believes now is a good time to convert it back to residences. He said the zoning board's action was a key step in the process, but he still needs to obtain building permits and other approvals because the building is part of a historic district. "We're trying to move forward as quickly as we can," he said.

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