The marketing strategy being employed at a North Baltimore apartment building is promoting the city streets it faces. The owners of Remington Row are selling the neighborhood and all it offers as an amenity.
One unit type is called The Lorraine, named after Lorraine Avenue. There are also the Miles, Sisson, Cresmont, Howard and Fox, all Remington thoroughfares. The largest unit is The Falls, after Falls Road, of course.
The project's developer, Seawall Development, is no stranger to this neighborhood. Its successful reclamation of an old factory at 26th and Howard streets is now Miller's Court, a residence for young teachers. The company then moved to redevelop a car repair and tire shop — now home to the Parts & Labor butcher shop and restaurant and Single Carrot Theatre.
Perhaps the boldest move came when Seawall acquired nearly two blocks of Remington Avenue between 27th and 29th streets. Sixty years ago, the site for these new apartments was a Kimmel tire shop, a filling station and Walter Shock's ice house.
Could a new apartment building prosper alongside rowhouses, warehouses, and remaining auto and body shops?
As it turns out, the Seawall folks have discovered there is a fascination with Baltimore and its urban villages. The fact that a taxi lot is down the street doesn't matter — their target renter, company officials say, actually likes that urban reality.
"There's a sense in Remington you are enjoying something bigger than yourself," said Matt Pinto, a member of the Seawall team. "There is a feeling of authenticity and that things are happening.
"There's a bit of mystery," he said. "There's a bit of grit."
The $40 million, 108-unit apartment house is moving toward completion later this year. In an adjoining block of Remington Avenue, the developer is busy converting the old Jarman auto agency into something called R. House, which they describe as a " new take on an Old World food hall" that will showcase Baltimore's emerging chefs and startup restaurants.
At Remington Row, 2700 Remington Ave., the apartment windows overlook a most urban landscape.
You look at backyards, garages and the Church of the Guardian Angel. The view from the upper floors reveals the city at large. You see old Seton High School or the Hotel Belvedere, Key Bridge and the Jones Falls Expressway. You hear the deep low notes as CSX locomotives and their strings of freight cars grind up the grade from the Howard Street Tunnel.
It might not be for everyone, but Seawall describes the neighborhood as a destination for "artists, makers, designers, restaurants, retailers, educators, innovators, startups and nonprofits."
Flooring in a model apartment was installed just this week, but Shawn Brown, a Seawall leasing agent, said she has leases on about 30 percent of the building. Prospective tenants climb unfinished stairwells and dodge construction workers. They also don hard hats and fluorescent safety vests. (An open house will be held 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 30.)
The building has an underground garage for tenants and patrons of Johns Hopkins Community Physicians, a medical group that has leased the building's second floor. Neighborhood-based shops are slated for the ground floor.
Brown said early interest has shown there's a powerful lure to Remington as it continues to evolve.
People, she said, "come here for that neighborhood sense. They like being early adapters."