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Apartments proposed atop former linen store in Fells Point

The former Super Linens store building in Fells Point will be transformed into a five-story apartment building under a plan presented to a city commission Tuesday.

A three-story addition will be built atop the store at the prominent corner of South Broadway and Fleet Street, while two adjacent historic row houses on Fleet and another on South Broadway will be renovated, a developer’s plan shows.

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The linen store, which opened in 1992 in space once occupied by five-and-dime retailer Goldenberg’s, closed in December when owner Jeffrey Caplan retired.

Caplan said he sold the property to Fells Point-based Chasen Cos., a builder of upscale apartments in Fells Point, Mount Vernon, Federal Hill and downtown.

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At a hearing Tuesday, the city’s Commission on Historical and Architectural Preservation approved the scale of the planned redevelopment at 601 South Broadway, near Broadway Market and next to the larger Marketplace at Fells Point apartments.

An apartment complex rendering shown to a city preservation commission Tuesday shows the three-story addition proposed for the former Super Linens store on the corner of South Broadway and Fleet Street in Fells Point.
An apartment complex rendering shown to a city preservation commission Tuesday shows the three-story addition proposed for the former Super Linens store on the corner of South Broadway and Fleet Street in Fells Point.

Chasen Cos. said it plans 26 one- and- two-bedroom apartments and ground-floor commercial space totaling 7,000 square feet. Residents will have a courtyard, coworking office access, smart-home technology in residences and dedicated parking spots, the developer said.

The project, with a projected completion date of August 2022, will expand the developer’s presence in Fells Point.

“601 S. Broadway is a prominent and highly visible corner in the heart of the community, and we are looking forward to seeing the transformation,” CEO Brandon Chasen said in a statement.

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He said the purchase of the property was one of the company’s largest investments. Caplan sold the property in April for $1.53 million, according to state property records.

Since an initial presentation to the commission last November, the design team modified the appearance of the building addition so it would reflect the existing one-and-a-half story art moderne store building that was built in the 1930s.

“The applicants have proposed a three-story design that will complement the design of the historic one-and-a-half story building as well as the 19th-century buildings around it,” said Stacy Montgomery, a historic preservation planner for the city, during a presentation to the commission. “They’re trying to weave together some stylistically different buildings with this addition.”

Justin Seto, the architect on the project, told the commission the design team aimed to use rounded corners and balconies to reflect the store’s original design.

The Fells Point Design Review Committee, a committee of neighborhood residents, said in comments submitted to the city that they believed their design concerns had been incorporated into the latest plans.

“This latest rendition is an improvement,” the committee said. “The changes are in line with what we recommended.”

Caplan, the former Super Linens owner, said he had been planning to retire and sell the property, but “COVID sped it up.”

“I loved my time in Fells Point,” he said. “I loved my customers. It was a great business.”

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