Work begins on city apartment, retail complex $4.5 million project is in Market Center


Developers Jay French and Thomas Dowling yesterday began construction on a $4.5 million apartment and retail complex in Baltimore's Market Center redevelopment area.

Mulberry Court is the name of the project, which will take shape on a vacant lot bounded by Eutaw, Mulberry, Pierce and State streets.

When complete in about a year, Mulberry Court will contain 62 apartments for low- and moderate-income residents, six retail spaces facing Eutaw Street and 26 parking spaces.

Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and other city officials joined the developers for a groundbreaking ceremony yesterday morning.

Mulberry Court is "a major boost for city living opportunities, construction jobs, entrepreneurship and the vitality of the Market Center area," the mayor said.

Mr. French and Mr. Dowling were selected to develop the parcel afterMr. French responded to a city-issued request for proposals. Cho, Wilks and Benn is the architect.

"Our concept is to expand and boost the existing retail base, while providing affordable, quality homes in a downtown setting," Mr. French said.

The financing package for Mulberry Court includes $1.26 million in construction funding from Baltimore's Community Development Financing Corp. and a $1.1 million loan from the Baltimore Development Corp. The city also provided $245,000 for land acquisition and gap financing, and Maryland's Rental Housing Production funds program contributed $1.2 million.

Plans call for construction of 18 three-story brick buildings that contain one-level apartments. They would have access from a courtyard in the middle of the block. Mr. French and Mr. Dowling are the general partners of the construction team, and the French Co. will manage the properties.

The French Co. was the developer of Franklin Court, a 29-unit apartment and retail project in the 500 block of W. Franklin St., and the rehabilitated Charles E. Fish and Sons Building at Eutaw and Franklin streets. Mr. Dowling was the developer of the 67-unit Boundary Square apartment complex in the 300 block of West North Ave.

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