Klein Enterprises, a Pikesville-based development firm, plans to start construction this week on a 284-unit apartment building near Interstate 83, part of a wave of residential projects planned for the Jones Falls Valley.
Dubbed The Woodberry, the building at 2001 W. Cold Spring Lane is expected to open in spring 2020 with market rate apartments ranging from one to three bedrooms.
The development extends to the north the building boom occurring in areas around Hampden, Medfield and Clipper Mill, where a slew of former industrial properties have been converted to or are planned for apartments.
Dan Klein, president of Klein Enterprises, said he hopes the location and the fact that it is new construction, not a rehabilitation of an older property, will give his development an edge in the market.
“We don’t think that there are a lot of projects that are comparable to what we’re building,” he said.
Redevelopment of the site, which sits south of Cold Spring just west of the Jones Falls, had been discussed since at least 2012 under a prior team.
Klein Enterprises, a family-owned firm with a portfolio that includes more than 1,800 rental apartments in Maryland, presented designs for the apartments to the city in 2016. The firm is planning additional construction in future phases.
City Councilwoman Sharon Green Middleton said she is glad to see redevelopment of the site, formerly home to a florist and other industrial properties, finally begin.
Middleton said the area has been abandoned for many years.
“I started seeing graffiti and just destruction of property — the negative things that we just don't want to see,” she said.
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She said she hopes the project will spur other improvements in the area, including to the light rail and the nearby Jones Falls trail, which passes through the apartment site.
Sites farther down the river have been prone to flooding, but Klein said he’s not worried about that for his property, which sits on higher ground.
He declined to say how much the apartment building is expected to cost.
The firm received a construction loan worth $64.5 million through a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development program for rental units aimed at moderate-income families. That loan will convert into a 40-year mortgage loan once construction is complete, Klein said.
The property will face significant competition from other apartment projects just south in the Jones Falls Valley.
ValStone Partners has proposed as many as 336 new apartments in converted buildings and new construction on parking lots at Clipper Mill. Across Clipper Road, another developer plans an apartment building with up to 80 studio units. About a mile farther south, the adapted Fox buildings in Hampden will house 94 apartments and artist studios.
The Woodberry, designed by JDavis Architects, will feature amenities including a saltwater pool, bike storage room and roof deck. Old Town Construction is the general contractor.