In what could be the Park Heights revitalization project’s first major development to launch, an “affordable” apartment building designated for low-income renters will break ground Tuesday before a slate of community members and city officials.
Dubbed “Renaissance Row,” the 84-unit building, situated on 4301 Park Heights Ave., will have eight units reserved for people earning up to 30% of the area median income, while 76 units will go to residents earning up to 60% of the median income. In 2017, a Baltimore City Health Department neighborhood survey estimated the median household income at $26,015.
The apartment building will add to a number of new housing options planned for the area, for which an $100 million redevelopment effort is planned aimed at bringing more families back to the neighborhood. Park Heights, once a bustling “streetcar suburb,” has seen population declines for years and has been prioritized as a funding focus area for Baltimore’s housing department.
Last week, Baltimore’s finance board approved the $675,000 sale of dozens of city-owned properties in the Park Heights neighborhood to NHP Foundation, the redevelopment effort’s lead developer. The first phase of the development will reuse about 80 houses and vacant lots on Park Heights Avenue, Woodland Avenue, Virginia Avenue and Homer Avenue.
Renaissance Row, located about half a mile away from much of the first phase of the redevelopment project, features 42 one-bedroom apartments, 35 two-bedroom apartments and seven three-bedroom units, developer Pennrose LLC said in a news release. It will include on-site amenities, management offices and office space that will serve as the new headquarters for Park Heights Renaissance, a nonprofit, community development corporation that serves as the liaison between residents and city officials and developers.
Pennrose said the building would include a fitness center, teen room, resident storage area, parking, courtyard, and outdoor green space.
The development team said it recently closed on financing for Renaissance Row, which will be built on a site with blighted housing at the intersection of Park Heights Avenue and Rosewood Avenue. The financing includes direct and soft loans, tax credits and multifamily bonds from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development and the City of Baltimore.
“This development project represents the years of dedication and partnership with Pennrose, local residents, City and State officials, and private funding partners to provide more affordable housing opportunities for the residents in Park Heights,” said Yolanda Jiggetts, executive director of Park Heights Renaissance, in a statement. “Renaissance Row begins the momentum towards restoring hope and opportunities that will afford existing residents opportunities for affordable housing, but will also be an opportunity to attract new residents to join the Park Heights community.”
Jiggetts and a number of other speakers gave remarks at Tuesday’s groundbreaking event, including outgoing Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young; City Council President Brandon Scott; Pennrose regional vice president Ivy Dench-Carter; and Councilwoman Sharon Green Middleton, who represents the area.
Scott, in an interview with The Baltimore Sun after the groundbreaking event, said the apartment building represents the first step forward for Park Heights' next generation.
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“This is not just about building 84 units of affordable housing for folks in Park Heights, it’s not just about bricks and mortar, but providing investments in the neighborhood to build better communities and better people,” the Park Heights native said. “With more investment, I want to see a day when my generation is now coming back and building their families and businesses in the same neighborhood we grew up in."