The University System of Maryland Board of Regents voted Thursday to sell the vacant and deteriorated former Hebrew Orphan Asylum in West Baltimore to the Coppin Heights Community Development Corp. for redevelopment as a community health center, according to a university spokesman.
The land is currently owned by Coppin State University, which acquired it as part of a 7.3-acre, $680,000 purchase from the Lutheran Home and Hospital Foundation Inc. in 2003. The chancellor recommended that the board allow Coppin State University to move forward with sale of the property.
The Coppin Heights Community Development Corp. has agreed to pay $135,000 for three parcels, totaling about 1.5 acres, with the goal of restoring the building and leasing it to Total Health Care Inc., which already operates eight health centers in Baltimore City. The 2700 Rayner Ave. project is expected to cost $12.4 million and open in December 2015. Financing includes $10 million in previously announced federal and state tax credits.
Redevelopment of the Hebrew Orphan Asylum is expected to create 40 jobs, according to the city’s “Anchor Plan,” presented in June. The Coppin Heights Community Development Corp. and Coppin State University are also considering placing on urban farm on the remaining 5.8 acres, according to the plan.
Coppin State University and the Coppin Heights Community Development Corp. did not respond to requests for comment. Preservationists, community leaders and officials from the Jewish Museum of Maryland launched a campaign in 2010 to try to save the building, built in the 1870s.
The neighborhood is an area where officials are trying to focus economic development. Last year, the state named it one of five new “health enterprise zones,” making physicians and community groups that locate there eligible for tax breaks and other incentives.
This post has been updated from the original to reflect Thursday's vote by the Board of Regents.