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Reuse / Rebuild : Development News

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Canton Ace to Open in September

DIY home improvement enthusiasts in Canton don't have much longer to wait for their new hardware store.
Canton Ace Hardware will open in mid-September at 1001 S. Lakewood Ave., following an investment of as much as $800,000 from owners, says Rachel Machacek, a spokeswoman for Ace Hardware in Greater Baltimore. The store will be located across the street from the Canton Safeway. 
Co-owners Gina Schaefer and Marc Friedman invested between $600,000 and $800,000 to open and renovate the 11,000-square-foot space. Schaefer and Friedman own seven other Ace stores in Baltimore and Washington, including locations in Waverly and Federal Hill. 
While the space was close to move-in ready, the company did complete some renovations, including adding a new HVAC system, new offices and lighting.
Canton attracted the owners because of its walkability, neighborhood feel, and its proximity to independent shops and restaurants. The company wants local residents to have a shop in the neighrborhood for their home improvement needs without having to get into the car and make a lengthy drive, Machacek says.
The store will look to employ 15 workers initially, Machacek says.
The store will sell a variety of products including basic hardware, housewares, lawn and garden supplies, patio furniture, and more. And, you can bring your dog there. 
As part of the national Ace Hardware co-operative, the stores are locally owned establishments that bring jobs and business to the local economy, Machacek says.
Source: Rachel Machacek, communications manager, A Few Cool Hardware Stores
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Park Lane Shopping Center Sold For $7M

The New Park Heights Community Development Corp. Inc. finalized a deal this month to buy the Park Lane Shopping Center in Northwest Baltimore for $7 million and is plotting the center's long-awaited redevelopment.
The nonprofit's president and CEO Will J. Hanna II says it bought the shopping center at 4400 Park Heights Ave. with private funding.

Three years ago, Baltimore City and the Baltimore Development Corporation approved a $4 million bond to be used for the redevelopment of the shopping center as part of the Park Heights Revitalization area. Hanna says he expects work to begin in January and to be finished by the fall. Stores at the shopping center, at the corner of Park Heights and Coldspring Lane, will remain open during the work.

Park Lane Shopping Center is 263,000 square feet in size, a figure that includes a large parking lot in the rear. Hanna says it is 85 percent occupied, and current tenants include a Dollar Store, pharmacy, mattress store and check cashing place. The CDC will be seeking a bank and other new tenants once the renovations are done. 
Hanna estimates the shopping center is more than four decades old and says it looks "dated." The redevelopment of the property will include a refacing of the exterior and a reallocation of the size of the spaces within, to allow for more new tenants. 
The construction of a library on part of the rear parking lot is also under consideration. “The community wants and needs a library,” says Hanna. He says he has not contacted Baltimore City’s Enoch Pratt Library System and a library would most likely be a private venture.
To celebrate the acquisition, the community’s annual “National Night Out” will be held at the Park Lane Shopping Center. Hanna says his group is partnering with the Baltimore City Police Department and city agencies for the anti-crime event.
Source: Will J. Hanna II, New Park Heights Community Development Corp. Inc.
Writer: Barbara Pash

Autism Care Provider to Construct New School

Linwood Center Inc., an Ellicott City school and adult services provider for people with autism, will use $500,000 in state bond funding to plan, design and construct a new school building.
The approximately 36,000-square-foot building will have a capacity for 70 students when the building has its scheduled opening the fall of 2013, Linwood Center Executive Director Bill Moss says. The expansion of the student population will likely mean that the school could add as many as 40 new instructional staff by the time the school opens, Moss says.
Funding for the $6.5 million project came from Linwood Center through fundraising, private donors and state and local governments.
The new school will be a "state of the art" learning center for kids with autism, Moss says.
The current school building serves 24 students in a historic mansion that was converted into a school. In recent years the school turned away students because space doesn't exist, Moss says.
The lack of space to accommodate kids with autism comes as the demand for autism care is at an all-time high. Over the past 10 years, the incidence of autism in children has dramatically increased and the demand for services is great, Moss says.
"One in 80 children have autism in the state of Maryland. In Howard County, it’s one in 73 kids," Moss says.
The new school will have a large gym and multipurpose room, a full kitchen, a library and computer lab, rooms for various therapie and a fully functioning teaching apartment to train youth in living skills. The school currently serves youth ages 9 to 21, but the new school will accept younger children.
Construction on the site started in June with the removal of a building on the property. Usable parts of the building were donated to Habitat for Humanity.
Source: Bill Moss, executive director, Linwood Center Inc. 
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Marketplace at Fells Developer Sprucing Up Facades on Broadway

Construction on the massive Marketplace at Fells Point project will close sidewalks and parking spaces of the westside of the 600 block of South Broadway Street for the next year as the developer works to preserve building facades in the neighborhood. 
The renovation of building facades or exteriors is part of the development plan to preserve the streetscape that has been there for 100 years, says Drew Dolben, senior vice president for Massachusetts developer the Dolben Co. Inc..
The developer is also constructing an entirely new building as part of the $40 million Marketplace at Fells Point project that broke ground in May. The project will eventually include 159 apartment units and more than 27,000 square-feet of retail space. Dolben acquired the rights to build the housing and retail portion of the project from Dave Holmes earlier this year. 
Dolben expects for tenants and residents to begin moving into the development within the next 15 months with the entire project completed in 20 months.
The smaller building on the eastside of Broadway will open first and the building on the westside will follow shortly after, Dolben says.
Meanwhile, in  Anne Arundel County, the Dolben Co. plans to complete its Village at Odenton Station before the end of September. 

The company has signed a lease with a dry cleaner and in currently in negotiations with a restaurant at the location. The company plans to have a mix of retail similar to a traditional main street including a coffee shop, a nail salon, a hair stylist, a spa  and a total of three restaurants.
Source: Drew Dolben, senior vice president for the Dolben Co. Inc. 
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Patterson Park Charter To Complete Construction This Summer

Patterson Park Public Charter School will use $50,000 in state bond funding this summer to complete the construction and renovation of its facilities, says Patterson Park Public Charter School Executive Director Ed Rutkowski.
Specifically, the funds will be used to renovate the facade of the original St. Elizabeth Church on East Baltimore Street facing Patterson Park, a building purchased by the school and used as its cafeteria, gym, library, tech lab and business offices.
Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation through the National Trust for Historic Preservation provided matching funds of $50,000 toward the renovation.
"It's great for the neighborhood to have it looking good…we're restoring it to its former glory," Rutkowski says.
The school acquired the St. Elizabeth Church building in 2008. In 2009, planning began for the expansion and improvement of the school site including renovations to the church and the construction of a new middle school building.
Since then, the state issued $13.7 million of tax exempt bonds, and that money was used for the acquisition of the original church building, and construction of middle school building which includes six classroom, an act facility and a science lab.
The renovation of the facade will complete construction of the school site. The facade renovations required the removal of lead paint, necessitating additional funding to complete the project.
The school removed the form stone on the front of the cafeteria building, and plans to restore the facade to its original appearance. The church was built in 1895.
Representatives from Baltimore’s 46th Legislative District helped the school secure the funding, Rutkowski says.
The school serves 621 students and their families in grades pre-K through 8.
Source:  Ed Rutkowski, executive director of Patterson Park Public Charter School
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Columbia Mall Expansion Could Begin in January

Construction on the Mall in Columbia’s expansion could begin as early as mid-January, according to Howard County officials. The 75,000-square-foot addition will add new shops and restaurants at the shopping center that is near 100 percent occupancy.

The makeover will add more outdoor space, landscaping and pedestrian-friendly design so it resembles more of a lifestyle center, says Mark Thompson, director of downtown redevelopment for Howard County.

"Consumers really enjoy that outdoor shopping experience," Thompson says. "Enhanced landscaping areas for sitting are very popular."

Those are some of the components of the Wegmans-anchored Hunt Valley Towne Centre and Annapolis Towne Centre at Parole, though mall officials say Columbia's plans aren't modeled on any specific shoppng center. 

General Growth Properties Inc., the mall's owner, will reopen the original mall entrance so patrons can walk directly from the mall to the pedestrian bridge that connects to the lakefront area across the street, says Mall in Columbia Marketing Manager Michelle Jose.

The mall’s first phase will be completed by the end of 2013. Jose says she does not yet know when the second phase will begin and could not say what new shops the expanded mall will hold. Nordstrom, Macy’s and JC Penney are among the 1.4 million-square-foot mall’s anchor tenants. It also has an Apple store, P.F. Chang’s and Cheesecake Factory.

The construction plans will likely include a smaller L.L. Bean to make room for the new tenants, Thompson says. At about 15,000 square feet, the outdoor clothing and recreation store will be about half the size. 

The mall’s expansion is one component of Columbia’s long-term redevelopment plan that calls for more open, walkable space so it resembles something like Reston, Va.

“The vision is to create a more urbanized area,” Thompson says. “The mall is a key component of downtown.”

The county’s planning board will hold a hearing on the mall’s expansion. The mall plans must also go through the county’s design advisory panel. 

Writer: Julekha Dash; [email protected]
Sources: Michelle Jose, Mall in Columbia; Mark Thompson, Howard County 

Affordable Housing Push Underway In Park Heights

The state has created a community land trust for the Park Heights area of Baltimore City to ensure affordable housing in an area that is undergoing redevelopment.

The Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation approved the community land trust in April, the first in the state, according to Will J. Hanna II, president and CEO of The New Park Heights Community Development Corp. Inc. The CDC  will administer the trust. The community land trust designates a specific area in the Park Heights community for development of affordable housing for 99 years. Area nonprofits and the CDC are working to redevelop the area with new services and buildings while a new workforce training program is seeking to lower the area's high unemployment. 
Two property owners have donated 100 vacant houses within the community land trust boundaries to the nonprofit to begin the affordable housing effort.
Hanna says he is negotiating with two investors who are interested in buying and redeveloping 50 houses each. He declined to provide names. He is also talking to two banks, SunTrust and Wells Fargo, about closing and development costs.
Hanna says the nonprofit, which was founded in 1999, expects to have a purchase commitment by next month.
 The federal Housing and Urban Development department’s home program determines the selling price for houses in the land trust. Currently, that price is set at $80,000 to $125,000 per property, a rate based on median income and affordability of the housing stock in the community at the time.
Hanna says the community land trust area stretches from Seven Mile Lane to Druid Park Drive. The 100 vacant houses are scattered within this broad area. He estimates the average value of each property at $40,000, with some of the houses little more than shells.
He figures the average cost of redeveloping the houses will be $60,000 each. The nonprofit will retain ownership of the land, and intends to charge ground rent.
Hanna talks about the tax advantage to the property-owners who donated the houses, home-buyers and private investors who redevelop them.
By donating the houses to the community land trust, the property-owners received a tax exemption. Whoever buys a house in the land trust will be exempt from state taxes during the life of the land trust.
For investors who buy the properties to redevelop, 80 percent of the development cost is not taxable. Moreover, the nonprofit can issue IRS certificates to reduce tax liability.
Source: Will J. Hanna II, The New Park Heights Community Development Corp., Inc.
Writer: Barbara Pash
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