Real Estate

Insiders' guide to Mid-Govans

Founded as a residential offshoot to the busy York Road business route, Mid-Govans offered its earliest residents the ease of being within walking distance of area merchants, shops and churches. Today's residents still find those features inviting.

"I brag about the neighborhood all the time. The quietness, the cleanliness of it," said Irvin Johns, president of the Mid-Govans Community Association. "It's convenient to pretty much everything."

Located along the east side of York Road just south of the historic Senator Theatre, the tucked away residential community consists of 866 homes. Mid-Govans, bounded by Woodbourne Avenue and York, Benninghaus and Lothian roads, is just one neighborhood that makes up the larger Govans area.

Louise Harris, a Mid-Govans resident for 27 years, said it offers a true mix of people and a good variety of "quaint" homes.

"I call it the hidden gem," said Harris, who serves as the vice president of the Mid-Govans Community Association. "A lot of people don't know we exist. But it's definitely a place to keep on your radar if you're looking for an affordable home."

Lined with mature trees and mixed-matched streets, Mid-Govans has little cut-through traffic from busy York Road, Harris said, so it's a quiet neighborhood where people enjoy getting out and walking around.

Community leaders say the neighborhood holds promise and maintains a high 70 percent home ownership rate.

"It's one of those un-mined resources," said Shirl Byron, the executive director of the North East Development Alliance. "It's being discovered slowly."

Mostly modest single-family homes, especially bungalow-style houses, are associated with the neighborhood. Front porches, over-sized front lawns and 1920s architecture are attractive features. Restored and well-kept homes are mixed in with those still in need of renovation.

Melvin Knight, an agent in Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage's Roland Park office, believes the area offers a lot of value and amenities for the asking price. He said small pockets and particular streets in the area are hot real estate spots. Prices in the general Govans area have gone up in the past year.

A typical home in Mid-Govans starts in the low $100,000 range, with restored homes fetching prices in the low $200,000 range.

"It has the advantage of being in the city, but it's green and has trees and it's very convenient," said Knight. "That's what people like about it."

Lothian Apartments is located on the edge of the neighborhood and offers one- and two-bedroom brick duplexes that start at $600 per month.

Theft from cars and other property crimes are the main concern in Mid-Govans, said John Walter, the Baltimore City Northern District community relations officer. Most major crimes were down from the year before. "The community association is very active, which really is a bonus and a plus for that neighborhood," said Walter.

The public school choices for children in Mid-Govans include Govans Elementary, Chinquapin Middle and W.E.B. DuBois High School and Reginald F. Lewis High School. While the elementary school has met state Adequate Yearly Progress standards, the middle and high schools have not. St. Mary of the Assumption School is the closest private alternative.

The neighborhood is walking distance to Belvedere Square, which features many specialty shops, including home furnishings, children's boutiques and an independent bookstore. Other stores and services line York Road and Towson Town Center is a short drive north.

The Belvedere Square Market is 5,400 square feet of gourmet and fresh food, offering a European-style shopping experience. Mid-Govans is also located between two Giant Food stores, one on York Road north of Northern Parkway and the other on 33rd Street.

A wide selection of neighborhood restaurants cover just about any craving, including wood-fired pizza, bagels, Irish fare, sushi, Tex-Mex and Chinese. A neighborhood favorite is Atwater's, a gourmet sandwich, cheese and soup shop located at Belvedere Square.

The neighborhood is just across the street from the Senator Theatre, one of the few remaining art deco movie houses in the nation. The theatre opened in 1939 and is widely considered a neighborhood anchor. During the summer, Belvedere Square offers a free outdoor concert series.

Located in the heart of Mid-Govans is DeWees Park, a 14-acre facility that houses the Northeast Football League, a Police Action League and a City Farms program. Residents continue to upgrade the park, recently planting 40 trees with help from a grant.