Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hollins Market: Sandwhiched Between Gentrification and Blight

Hollins Market has been, for quite some time a neighborhood in transition. The neighborhood itself isn't to blame, outside forces have driven Hollins Market into decline and it's those same outside forces that are making it difficult for Hollins Market to make a come back. But have those same outside forces turned Hollins Market around and made it household name on the growing list of thriving low vacancy Baltimore Neighborhoods?
Hollins Market's decline and upward battle of the past few decades is the indirect result of just about every failed public policy in 20th Century urban planning. Hollins Market was an industrial neighborhood housing workers from Slaughter Houses and Camden Yards. To the west is Union Square, which originally was a more well to do "Gentleman's Community" which I believe to be one of the earliest suburbs Homes in Union Square are larger than those found in its neighboring Communities. To the north lies Poppleton, which was at the edge of West Baltimore's African American neighborhoods.It's not fair to say that everything that hurt Hollins Market was the result of poor public policy. Some of it was just the national trend. After World War II was the end of Baltimore's glorious industrial era. World War II actually allowed for the industrial market in America to stay strong manufacturing materials for our Soldiers over sea. Fact of the matter was, that technology had gotten the better of us. Factories no longer needed the thusands of workers they once did. Massive layoffs in the industrial field after World War II spread across the nation like a tidal wave. With so much of Hollins Market's work force employed in the industrial field it's no surpirise that the neighborhood was effected. The 1960s and 70s Hollins Market went into decline and lost well over 30% of it population. That's a lot of boarded up row homes.
Now for the poor public policy. North of Hollins Market lies Poppleton. After World War II Baltimore's impoverished African American population sky rocketed. The City, and all of Urban America thought as a "slum clearance" initiative would build Public Housing High Rise Developments throughout America's Urban Core. This was done not only to "house" the poor but in doing so it would clear land for building Interstates. Poppleton, in addition to the existing Poe Homes got Lexington Terrace. Lexington Terrace very quickly became as bad if not wor se than the "slums" it replaced. Only being a few blocks north of Hollins Market, still more residents moved out. Many Hollins Market Residents have lived in their homes for generations and chose not to move.Lexington Terrace was not the Public Housing High Rise close to Hollins Market. They seem to be in different worlds but Murphy Homes was a few blocks north of Lexington Terrace but something separated them, something that wasn't there before. That something, is perhaps Baltimore's and the Interstate planning team's biggest embarrassment. I-70 was supposed to go through Leakin Park and meet I-95. A spur known as I-170 was supposed to connect I-70 to Downtown. The spur would run in between Franklin and Mulberry Streets separating Lexington Terrace from Murphy Homes. I-70 was nixed past Cooks Lane and never connected to I-95. Good thing they didn't start building the spur ahead of time in anticipation......Oh wait they did. Perhaps the only advantage of this expressway spur was that it formed a barrier between two of Baltimore's worst Public Housing High Rises.The year was 1980 and Hollins Market's population had bottomed out at 1,198. The vacancy rate was at roughly 35%. Unlike other Baltimore neighborhoods in the 1960 and 70s, Hollins Market did not experience a dramatic racial turnover. It was roughly 20% Black in 1980 with the remainder of the population White. MLK Boulevard opened in 1982 separating Hollins Market from Downtown and the gentrifying Ridgelys Delight. In the 1980s Cocaine hit the Baltimore scence further devistating its already fragile neighborhoods.Now Pigtown loves to boast that it gained population in the 1980s which is great. However, the bragging rights for population gains in the 1980s lies to the north in Hollins Market. It jumped from 1,198 in 1980 to 2,138 in 1990! Now, I have researched the Historical Census records for an explanation for this unprecedented jump such as the "Statistical Boundaries" for Hollins Market becoming larger and have come up empty. With this population surge, Hollins Market became more diverse with roughly 1/3 of the population Black with a small Asian and Hispanic niche. The majority of the population was still White hovering at around 65%. The vacancy rate dropped to 24%.
The past 19 years have brought lots of change to neighborhoods surrounding Hollins Market, which in turn have changed Hollins Market itself. In 1995 Lexington Terrace was imploded as part of HOPE VI, a bill sponsored by none other than Maryland's own Senator Barb. This allowed for failing public housing projects like Lexington Terrace to be torn and replaced with mixed income housing. This is exactly what was done. The Townes of the Terraces, "Terraces" for short have transformed the eastern end of Poppleton. The 1990s prooved to be the decade that Hollins Market experienced a racial flip. The 2000 Census showed that Hollins Market had become 60% Black and 34% White with a stronger Asian and Hispanic Niche. Total population remained steady losing 88 residents with 2,050 total. Pigtown lost all the population it gained in the 1980s and then some. Hollins Market's Vacany Rate was 25%.The first nine years of the 21st century have prooven to be very excitng for Hollins Market and its neighbors. Poppleton, mainly the southern edge which borders Hollins Market (the 800 and 900 blocks of Baltimore St.) have been chosen to become the home for the University of Maryland's Biotech Park. The first phases of construction are complete and are looking great. The western edge of Poppleton has been uneffected by the redevelopment of its eastern half. Although still in shambles, the City has promised to redevelop a huge chunk of west Poppleton with Mixed Use Mised Income development which may lure development to Poppleton's western neighbor; Franklin Sqaure.
Pigtown, has made huge strides toward improvement. While Crime and Public Health (Drug Addiction and Prostitution) remain constant concerns, it didn't stop Pigtown from being named Baltimore's Best Neighborhood in 2004 by the Baltimore Sun. Washington Boulveard has been named a "Main Street" bringing new and higher end retail to Pigtown. It has also been "discovered" by Yuppies who can't to live on the water. Perhaps Pigtown's most noticeable change has been the Brownfield's Redvelopment site of now known as Camden Crossing. Camden Crossing has become a hot new Baltimore address for new City Dwellers. Consisting of 150 market rate town homes with only two left unsold which is a miracle in this economy has put a suburban face on Pigtown. It does not look like Pigtown's traditional row homes which are being rehabbed as we speak. I expect Pigtown to regain most of the population it lost in the 1990s.Meanwhile, in Hollins Market there seems to be what appear to be grass roots efforts to gain population. It seems to be working quite well. In 2000 the vacancy rate was 25%. I expect it now to be around 15% with the highest levels west of Carrollton St. (the neighborhoods two western most blocks) Racially, not much seems to have changed I expect it to remain roughly the same as it was in 2000 on the 2010 census. What I don't expect to see the same as it was in 2000 is total population. I project it to be anywhere from 2300 to 2600. I don't see the vacant houses that apparently were there in 2000 which means only one thing; growth. With the 1980s surge bringing 900 residents to Hollins Market I expect this to be at least 1/3 that much with 300 or at the most 2/3 with 600. Hollins Market, all things considered has fared exceptionally for being sandwiched between gentrification and blight.


Michael Lantz said...

I used to love going up Hollin's Market when I was a kid.I used to shine shoes in those bars back around 1976-1977.I remember Timmy Bailey used to hang Hollin's Market,alot of people used to call him names like "crazy Timmy".I use to tell kids to leave him alone.I heard that he still goes up there sometimes.

Michael Lantz said...

I miss those days back in 1976,1977 and 1978.I used to hang up there every Saturday back in the old days

Michael Lantz said...

I wish that they will do something about the crime in that area.That used to be a nice place when I was a kid.

Amy Palmer said...

Did the 2010 back you up or not?

Darlyn said...

I catch the Charm City Circulator at Hollins Market plus I actually visit the market from time to time. The only thing that I don't like about the area is the behavior of some of the people that are in the addiction rehab program nearby, BBH.

It's not all of them but some of them need a reality check. Just because you're in a rehab program does not make it ok for them to act like a classless fools in public.

Anonymous said...

We've recently bought home to renovate & moved into the area
of Hollins Market & the Biopark. It's an OK market on the lowest possible level of the meter.

I tend to travel all the way over to cross street market because Hollins market is missing more than a few crucial things!

#1 is security & safety.
It's very drab, criminal,classless & dark inside Hollins Market! The Air is stale (poor ventilation. It's like a dungeon or a cellar.

It lacks seating . Hollins Market could use at least one or two healthier food stalls -where you can get- whole grain bakery goods, fresh green salads, smoothies & healthier fare, without all of the greasy foods & mayonnaise laden salads. They could put a
Subways franchise stall there & a Starbucks type of knock-off cafe in market building & I would become one of their best & frequent customers!

There's no reading room/ magazines, newspaper stalls there, there's no local public information kiosks.I don't see any security guards visibly on duty inside of Hollins Market & they need to be visible in that dug & crime infested area_ I don't feel safe sending my Children there to buy a snack.

The things Hollins Market is lacking__It keeps that whole are unsophisticated and very dumbed down. Also there's no really good coffee shop there & no gourmet coffee drinks sold there. there are no fresh flower/florist stalls.In the Hot summer? You can't even find a good hand dipped cone or ice cream vendor there,in the market.
I can see a lot of potential & value to a community in transition having a Hollins market if they decide to clean it up, make it safer to include a few upscale healthy foods stalls & a mass interior beautification
effort! I would love to be able to walk over there early in the market to know it's safe, well lit,ventilated & sit on a bench to have latte & read the newspaper before starting my days at work. Hollins Market prefers to stay low scale and dingy to attract a certain low class druggy,criminal clientele.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the Neighborhood Anonymous!
I have also been thinking about the same thing for a long time!
it's time for a SERIOUS dialogue on the neglected Baltimore
Public Market!!!!!!!.____it's true that Hollins Market has been too complacent with only
catering to the visiting bbh people who are in drug treatment
programs in this area.

They have totally forgotten about the families, the local income tax base and mortgage paying population
that reside here around Hollins Market & Union Square.

Hollins Market needs to seriously step up
their game and cater to the whole community & People of all classes!
Broadway Market in Fells Point is getting a much needed make-over to suit the changing
neighborhood. Baltimore's Upton Market
is among one of the worst in the city!
It's depressing on the decline and it's full of lower quality meats, produce, unhealthy
fried foods and is a haven for the local beggars, drug addicts and criminals to roam.
That could be the future of Hollins Market if they don't do something fast!
Why is BBH & the People that they cater to, taking over Our Whole Neighborhood
& Public Markets around here?

All Public Markets have to find their specialty! an Utz snacks outlet, or quality
local made sausages.____In regards to Cross Street market __ they have a really nice
Bakery outlet there, a place to buy Tacos and Broadway Market has a nice
ethnic bakery there. When I go to Hollins market__ all that
is offered is stale bakery goods wrapped in plastic that's sat out
on the shelves for weeks.

Hollins Market lacks a mission, specialty and flair!
Safeway is gone it has turned this
whole area into a food desert.
There's nowhere to buy a slice of pizza, a well made ice cream cone or frozen yogurt
sundae, a good milkshake or malt, a healthier made tuna wrap or appetizing freshly made fruit salads. There is nowhere to take a family stroll & buy your Kids real old fashioned
ice cream cones in this neighborhood __ and that alone should be a crime or felony!!!!!!

Hollins Market needs to find a new niche in 2012, GREENER
may be the way to go to win customers willing to pay top dollar for
better service___ back to shopping @ the Market!
Perhaps they even hold Zumba or Yoga classes in their parking lot
or in the Nearby Union Square to help get their residents back
on the fitness wagon ! [I think there's a Yoga studio somewhere in this area]
They can start offering special healthier breakfast options and marketing it to "working people on the go" - in the neighborhood & those who catch the charm city
circulator for transportation to go work.{a cup of coffee, an egg white wrap and a piece of fresh fruit that's in season___ boxed lunch type of deal]I think that people would really pay for it.

Hollins Market could become a GREENER model for
the evolutions of the smaller Baltimore Public Markets!

They probably need to retrain the Most Vendors in
Hollins Market to put forth their BEST efforts & service,
because the community is changing for the better thanks to the expansion of the University of Maryland's Biopark__

The same old same old isn't going to cut it anymore
and it should not cut it, in the first place_ they
need to raise the bar fast!!!!
Working People are moving back
to this area and They will demand a better quality Hollins Market
to serve this community, ind addition to a brighter, cleaner Hollins Market with better Security detail to protect the customers who chose to
spend their hard earned dollars and shop there!- again Welcome to the Neighborhood.