Developers hope to break ground soon on a mixed-use development project that will add more retail options to the predominantly residential area at the foot of Light Street in the growing South Baltimore neighborhood.
The project, dubbed Riverside by developer Urban Pastoral, will transform the former slaughterhouse and warehouse at 1900 Light St. into a 34,000-square-foot retail and office space for a planned brewery, modern grocery store with packaged and prepared foods, coffee shop, bakery, full-service restaurant and more, said founding partner J.J. Reidy.
It also could potentially feature a below-ground grow facility ideal for farming “edible products,” Reidy said, a specialty of the developer.
The project aligns with Urban Pastoral’s previous work developing urbanized ecological and sustainable retail spaces from underutilized spaces. The firm previously helped design Remington’s R. House food hall as well as West Baltimore’s Green Street Academy, a public charter school that specializes in training students for careers in sustainability, agriculture and entrepreneurship.
Reidy said Riverside will help fill a retail void in the primarily residential neighborhood adjacent to the Hanover Street Bridge, home to apartment buildings and rowhomes but few eateries and stores.
“We want to draw attention to this community by bringing that gathering and focal point to life,” said Reidy. “But we would like people from all across the city to come and experience this and have this be a destination as well."
Responding to community concerns, Reidy said the development will include parking in partnership with surrounding buildings.
While the building does not currently possess the zoning code necessary for commercial retail and liquor sales, Reidy said the team has met with the neighborhood association and Councilman Eric Costello, who represents the neighborhood, to discuss their attitudes toward a retail concept.
Costello, in an email, said the proposal and zoning change would complement the neighborhood.
“The plans have been well received by the community to date,” Costello said. "As the developer is requesting a zoning change, which seems to be better aligned with that property and surrounding uses on the Wells St corridor, I have asked them to continue to work directly with the South Baltimore Neighborhood Association and surrounding neighbors to maintain their support.”
Reidy said Riverside’s placement in an opportunity zone also will help bring the project to fruition, as the designation opens up sources of capital from an investment standpoint.
Reidy said he hopes the project will materialize by the fall of 2021, with construction slated to last about a year and a half. No occupants have been announced yet, though two “anchor tenants” have plans to move in, he said.