Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rehab or Rebuild?

Sometimes a simple question has an even simpler answer. Today I'm going to ponder that myth and take you on a tour of some of Baltimore City's Neighborhoods that are faced with the simple question; Rehab or Rebuild? All that needs to be done to answer such a question is to assess the housing stock in the area and see if the market is strong enough to support simple rehabs or if vacancy is widespread enough that rebuilding is the only viable solution. Lets begin our tour.
Brooklyn/Curtis Bay: Rehab
Only exceptions being the neighborhoods' main streets Patapsco and Pennington Avenues. In Brooklyn there is a small area where redevelopment is needed it includes Brooklyn Homes, Brooklyn Apartments and the three blocks above Brooklyn Homes.

Edmondson Village: Rehab
With the new Uplands and the Redline on their way Edmondson Village will once again have a strong housing market. The housing stock is already in good shape with minimal vacancies. There are also public works projects such as streetscape enhancements taking place here.

Forest Park:Both
Rental Complexes are in need of redevelopment as are areas of retail. Single Family Homes which dominate the landscape in Forest Park needn't be touched with the exception of homes along Garrison Boulevard.
Belair Road: Rebuild

Photo From Google Earth

Belair Road was once a retail drag cluttered with car dealerships. An overwhelming number have closed leaving Belair Road desolate. Belair Road is a designated Main St. so redevelopment with mid level neighbor stores in a Main St. setting would be best. It would be void of businesses that make a neighborhood look blighted. There will be streetscape enhancements and updated traffic signals with count down pedestrian signals.

Park Heights:Rebuild

Half the neighborhood has already been demolished with much more to come. The bad perception of Park Heights can only be wiped away with lots of new housing and retail.

Carrollton Ridge:Rebuild?

There's nothing that draws people here anymore. So much of the industry that employed residents has gone oversea so people left looking for work else where. It will be hard even with new housing to attract new residents. I could be completely wrong maybe there are a lot of people looking for a cheap rehab. If that's the case if it's city owned $1 row house time.

Druid Heights: Rebuild

Close to the entire neighborhood has been demolished and new homes are giving this community a much needed facelift.

Penn North:Rebuild

Neiamah Homes redeveloped a few blocks of Penn North in the 1990s. Although successful the stability has been maintained within those few blocks. This is a great site for TOD as well.

Greenmount West:Rehab

Photo From Google Earth

Yes I know the housing stock is in an awful state but it's part of Station North which has been successful west of Calvert St. in rehabbing old row houses and warehouses and turning them into artist lofts. Once property west of Calver St. is occupied artists will be able to get the same subsidy in Greenmount West. Another $1 row home community? I think so!

Broadway East: Rebuild

This neighborhood is too distressed for anything other than a total rebuild.

Any ideas of what you think needs to be rehabbed and or rebuilt in Baltimore just leave it in the comments field.


Gary said...

With regards to your assessment of Park Heights, I agree that most of the housing stock is too blighted to be saved, especially in the southern part of the neighborhood. However, if possible I think it would be great to save some of the duplexes along Park Heights Ave... some of those that are found on the southern parts of Park Heights Ave have incredible detail and design, and you can tell these were beautiful homes in its early days, prior to its blockbusting. Hopefully they havent been neglected for too long.,+Maryland&sll=39.41816,-76.723709&sspn=0.255148,0.4422&ie=UTF8&ll=39.41816,-76.723709&spn=0.255148,0.4422&z=11&g=3000+Park+Heights+Ave,+Maryland&iwloc=cent&layer=c&cbll=39.332959,-76.661339&panoid=eJ42-FbfHgXW7W2lRJm5OA&cbp=12,66.22021697305627,,0,1.3320567510247827

Gary said...


Spence Lean said...

That particular section of Park Heights (Historic Park Circle) qualifies for Historic Designation, which means the buildings regardless of their condition can not be torn down. You've lucked out!

Gary said...

Ahh good point! Hey maybe you've already seen it, but if not, a professor at UMBC wrote a book some years ago - "Blockbusting in Baltimore, the Edmondson Village Story" - which analyzes the whole blockbusting process that went on in places like Edmondson and Park Heights in the 60's. I'm finishing it up right now... writing style isnt super exciting but there's alot of good info. Interesting read for anyone that's into urban policy/renewal.

Also - my roommate and I are trying to start a facebook group to kinda start a discussion about various ideas and thoughts for policy, development, etc in the City - since younger views arent represented much. If you'd like, your input would be very valuable (we are just starting it up right now). Here's the address:

Great blog, will check back for more!

Spence Lean said...

I did read that book and I use it as a refrence point constantly. I love how in depth Ed Orser is with his interviews and assesments. My father lived in Park Heights as a child 4900 block of Queensberry Avenue near the race track. My Grandparents moved out in 1966 to Randallstown. Their block was being "busted" but my Grandparents rented their house out and sold it to his renters at a profit several years down the road. He was one of the few people not to lose money on his house at that point because he would have if he sold it.

Anonymous said...

The Penn North site has already been slated for a housing oriented TOD development. It should include about 100 units and some ancillary retail.

Gary said...

Yeah Park Heights definitely changed since then. I saw in article in the Sun a few weeks ago about a lady on Queensbury who had her 2 Volvo's nearly destroyed because she didnt put up with the drug dealers. I really hope they can get that area under control.

Mike Rolling said...

I agree with your assessment of Forest Park. Eliminating the rental properties that foster the drug problem in the area and improving the quality of the businesses that occupy the commercial properties of the area will immediately improve the value of the neighborhood.

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