City and community leaders gathered Tuesday morning to celebrate the start of construction of a 60-unit apartment building in Greenmount West.
The $15.9 million City Arts 2 project at 1700 Greenmount Ave. is housing for artists and the disabled with incomes below a certain threshold. It received $900,000 in state rental housing funds and $1.2 million in low-income housing tax credits, which raised about $12 million for the project.
The complex, expected to open in 2016, is the second in the neighborhood developed by Homes for America, Jubilee Baltimore and TRF Development Partners-Baltimore, the team that also worked on the City Arts apartment building nearby.
Both projects are part of the effort to revitalize the Station North arts and entertainment district, where the city, private developers, local universities and state partners have directed millions in investment. New projects include the Baltimore Design School, the Open Works maker space and investments in new theaters and offices.
"We are putting together a whole big piece of a great American city. We're doing it bit by bit, and this is one of the great bits," said Charles Duff, the president of Jubilee Baltimore.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said the investment and focus on the area is an example of the way her market-driven approach to reducing blight is working. Since 2010 the city has sold 29 vacant buildings and more than 50 vacant lots in the area around Station North and Greenmount West, she said.
"Our creative class … add so much to our wonderful city not just here but in arts-related districts throughout our city," Rawlings-Blake said.
The decision by artists to locate in Baltimore "is a sign of our vibrancy, not just now but it sends a message about what's coming in the future for Baltimore," she added.