Funds sought for housing in East Baltimore Homes would be sold to low-income residents


Baltimore housing officials are seeking approval to use federal funds awarded in 1980 to help finance a $4.5 million project that would create 66 residences for low- and moderate-income residents in Washington Hill.

David Elam, director of development for Baltimore's housing department, said his office has selected Housing Assistance Corp., a non-profit developer headed by Gary Brooks, to build or renovate housing on four parcels the city owns in East Baltimore.

To help finance the project, he said, the city is seeking to use $990,000 in Urban Development Action Grant funds that were awarded in 1990 to help finance a redevelopment project in Fells Point. The project was completed in the early 1980s, he said, but the developers did not require all the federal money allocated for it.

Rather than not spend the leftover $990,000, he said, the housing department is seeking permission from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to use it to help build and renovate town houses and condominiums in Washington Hill.

Mr. Elam said city officials initially explored ways to use the money for other projects in the Fells Point area, but could not find sites suitable for the type of project the amount of money could help complete. He said the city already owns the land in Washington Hill and that the federal money would be coupled with other funds to generate a total investment in housing of about $4.5 million.

"We really want to do the project because it's going to complete the balance of the [Washington Hill] area," he said. "It's going to have a big impact."

The project involves construction of:

* 20 two-bedroom condominiums at 1423 to 1443 E. Baltimore St.

* 10 two-bedroom units and 14 three-bedroom units at 1400 to 1424 E. Baltimore St.

* 10 units, including eight rehabilitated two-bedroom units and two new two-bedroom units at 17 to 35 N. Eden St.

* 12 new two-bedroom modular town houses at 1400 to 1416 and 1403 to 1419 E. Fairmount St.

The residences would be sold for prices starting at less than $60,000 to low and moderate-income residents who meet state eligibility requirements.

The state Community Development Administration would lend mortgage funds, and the non-profit Community Development Financing Corp. would provide $3,037 in construction financing. The city would contribute approximately $500,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds and would sell the land to the developers for a nominal sum.

Schamu, Machowski, Doo and Associates would be the architect, and Cusack Co. would be the general contractor. Mr. Elam said he hopes to have a response from HUD officials by March and that the development team is ready to begin work this spring.

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