Baltimore officials announced Wednesday that the city has selected a national affordable housing nonprofit to redevelop 17 acres in the heart of the distressed northwest neighborhood of Park Heights.
A team led by NHP Foundation Inc. will invest more than $100 million in public and private funds to build 210 multi-family, multi-income housing units in apartments on Park Heights Avenue as well as 78 single-family, detached homes. The city selected the team for the planned redevelopment of the once-blighted acres after a competitive request for proposal process.
“In Baltimore, we are advancing a community development platform that is committed to increasing equity throughout Baltimore City neighborhoods,” Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young said. “Revitalization touches all parts of Baltimore.”
NHP is a 30-year-old, New York-based nonprofit company that has developed more than 9,000 units of low- and moderate-income housing in projects across the country including two in Baltimore and several more across the state and in Washington, D.C.
“We are thrilled to be here on another project,” said Stephen M. Green, NHP’s chief operating officer. “It is an area that has been dis-invested and we look forward to bringing a large investment.”
NHP is partnering on the project with two Baltimore-based real estate developers — Henson Development Co., led by Dan Henson, a former head of Baltimore Housing, and Marenberg Enterprises Inc., headed by Sandy Marenberg.
Next year, NHP will begin applying for state and local funding sources to help pay for the project, Green said. NHP will apply for state subsidies through a low-income housing tax credit program, among several other financing tools, he said.
CIty officials said it’s anticipated the project will need public subsidies to pay for needed public infrastructure and the affordable housing.
Officials anticipate construction will start on the project in 2021 and finish three to five years later.
Young said an impact study conducted by NHP estimated the project will generate $47 million in labor income, $130 million in economic output and more than 800 jobs for city residents, of which 360 jobs will be related to construction and redevelopment.
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Green said minorities and women will make up more than 35% of employees involved in the project.
The city spent years and more than $13 million to assemble the land to be redeveloped, including relocation and demolition costs.
Beginning next week, the development team will work with the city on refurbishing the land for interim use with urban gardens, a bee keeper space, a tree farm, recreation fields and open space.
City Council President Brandon Scott said he was happy to see the project come to fruition in an area where he played as a child. The development would replace the streets where, he said, “I saw negative things happening — people dying, shooting drugs, bodies being left in vacant housing. I see it coming full circle today.”
Park Heights was a bustling “streetcar suburb” with middle-class neighborhoods that began to decline in the 1960s. Today, he median household income is $7,000 lower than the rest of the city and vacant homes and buildings have dominated the landscape. The neighborhood borders the Pimlico Race Course, home of the annual Preakness Stakes horse race.
The neighborhood is one of four investment zones designated earlier this year by the Baltimore housing department. It was selected due to its proximity to Sinai Hospital and Cylburn Arboretum on Greenspring Avenue and other recent investment there, including several new schools that opened at a cost of $78 million, a $7.5 million overhaul of CC Jackson Park and Recreation Center and plans for a new library.
“It is a beautiful day in Park Heights,” said Tiffany Royster, chair to Park Heights Renaissance, a nonprofit formed in 2007 to rehabilitate the neighborhood. “We’re ecstatic about this announcement for the momentum it represents for moving Park Heights master plan forward and positively impacting the lives of people and the neighborhood.”