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Luxury housing plans revealed

The Baltimore Sun

As many as 485 new luxury apartments are being planned for two blocks of Baltimore's Brewers Hill neighborhood, the mixed-use redevelopment of two shuttered breweries.

A Houston-based apartment developer has a site south of O'Donnell Street under contract and plans two four-to-five story residential buildings that would include street-level shops and parking.

The plan is scaled back from a much larger residential component envisioned when city planners approved development in Brewers Hill about five years ago.

The developer, the Hanover Co., also is building Brewers Hill's first new housing component, a 180-unit apartment complex on the west side of South Conkling Street that is scheduled for completion in about a year.

"We're excited about Baltimore. Even in the face of a soft economy, this is a market that warrants private investment," said Adam S. Harbin, a development partner with Hanover. He said Canton "has a lot of fundamental strengths, with access to I-95 and Hopkins, and continued eastward expansion of downtown. We think there will be a strong demand for residential housing there."

Four key buildings in Brewers Hill have been redeveloped into offices and shops by Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse and Obrecht Commercial Real Estate Inc., part of a $120 million, multiphase project. The project has revitalized the former Gunther and National brewery complexes on 27 acres east of South Conkling Street between Dillon and Boston streets.

Hanover and architect Design Collective plan to unveil details of the apartment project today to the city's Urban Design and Architectural Review Panel.

Last week, the city's Planning Commission recommended approval of a zoning amendment that would enable Hanover to proceed with a development scaled back from the one envisioned under the original zoning. The original development plan, conceived at a time when the housing market was booming, would have allowed four towers above a base of parking, residences and retail.

Hanover plans to raze a warehouse for construction of two buildings, one with housing and parking, and one with housing and shops. The buildings would be separated by a "mews" street with on-street parking. Construction could begin by the first quarter of next year and would take about three years.

The company has built apartments in the area before, developing the Crescent on Fell Street in Fells Point.

Harbin said he could not elaborate on details of the Brewers Hill project before the proposal goes before the design panel. But a Planning Commission report shows the project would include 30,000 square feet of shops and more than 622,000 square feet of housing in 485 units.

The completed buildings at Brewers Hill are being filled with retailers and businesses, many of which are new to the city, such as MetLife, Occupational Health, Elder Health and Design Group, said C. William "Bill" Struever, chief executive officer and president of Struever Bros. Plans for a hotel in the original Gunther Brewery building are also in the works.

Struever said he expects housing demand to be spurred by growth in jobs at Brewers Hill, the nearby mixed-use development Canton Crossing and nearby at such places as the Johns Hopkins Health System's Bayview campus.

"That whole area of Canton is really moving along in a great way," Struever said. "This area of town will be a great spinoff growth opportunity."


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