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East Baltimore re-development project wins $3.4 million grant

One of the developers behind an ambitious project to transform a swath of Baltimore just east of downtown has been awarded a $3.37 million grant from the U.S. Treasury Department to help build affordable homes in the city’s Somerset neighborhood.

Mission First Housing Group, one of the developers of the city’s Perkins Somerset Oldtown (PSO) Transformation Project, was awarded the grant through the Capital Magnet Fund, a program of the Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund.

The $889 million PSO project aims to revitalize the 75-year-old Perkins Homes, the site of the former Somerset public housing development and Old Town.

Mission First, a Philadelphia-based affordable housing developer, is leading the Somerset portion of the project, which will include 396 affordable housing units and 161 market rate units, a central park and ground-floor retail with a grocery store.

Mission First was chosen as one of several dozen nonprofit housing groups and community development financial institutions to receive Treasury grants totaling $142.9 million. The grants are earmarked to help develop, refurbish or buy affordable housing for low-income residents.

“We’re proud to be in the company of others doing such great work,” Mission First CEO Alfredo de la Peña said in an announcement Wednesday. “The [Capital Magnet Fund] dollars are a crucial part of the financing for this large-scale development that will benefit East Baltimore neighborhoods.”

Last summer, Baltimore was awarded a $30 million federal grant for redevelopment that includes tearing down Perkins Homes public housing and moving residents to new affordable housing. Under the plan, the area’s 629 public housing units will be replaced with 1,345 apartments in a mixed-income community.

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