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Developer turning vacant Fells Point police station into 47-unit apartment building

Fells Point Station, a 47-unit apartment building located partially in a former police station, will open in November. The Henson Development Co. is the builder of the $13 million project, located at the corner of Bank and Broadway and managed by Mission First Housing Development Corp. in Washington, D.C., Henson's development partner.

Henson is offering one- and two-bedroom units, 3,000 square feet of retail space and 31 parking spaces in the 53,000-square-foot building. Because of the financing arrangements, 34 of the 47 units are designated for tax credit assistance for those earning between 30 to 60 percent of the area median income. This number for AMI fluctuates yearly.  The remaining units will be rented at market rate, of around $950 to $1,350, Henson Co. Vice President Dana Henson says.  

The apartment complex at 1621 Bank St. consists of the original 16,000-square-foot city police station and a new, 37,000-square-foot building that was constructed on an adjacent surface parking lot. The three- and four-story buildings are separate but a glass and aluminum exterior entry connects the two.  
Henson bought both the long-vacant police station and parking lot from the city in 2009 for $584,300, according to state property records. The property is valued today at about $739,000. At the time of purchase, the station was in disrepair and water damaged. The police station was listed on the National Historic Register and that required leaving the façade intact. The interior was gutted and some of the original design elements were used in the new building. The exterior of the new building matches the original station.
“We used historical photographs for reference,” says Henson. “The window frames, the brick – externally it looks like the historical building.”

The project is being financed by Capital One, Hudson Housing Capital, National Park Service Historical Tax Service, Maryland housing and community development department tax credits and the city's housing department.
Henson says the company did several market studies to determine the need for rental units in the area.
“This was a vacant building in Fells Point and there is so much development going on in Fells Point. It’s a bustling economy," she says, pointing to the Marketplace at Fells Point retail and residential complex as an example. "We wanted to give the community a building they could be proud of." 
Source: Dana Henson, The Henson Development Co.
Writer: Barbara Pash
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