Sunday, February 21, 2010

What Will the 2010 Census Reveal?

We can't move forward until you sent it back. That's been the new slogan for the 2010 census, yep it's that time again to see just how Baltimore and the entire Country have changed in the past 10 years; for better or worse.
Baltimore's had a whirl wind decade from 2000-2010 and I'm sure there are a lot of stakeholders who are wondering what Baltimore in 2010 looks like. In 2005 at the forefront of the Real Estate Boom, Baltimore was poised to gain population for the first time in 50 years. Then the economy, which was being held together by the Real Estate Market collapsed and those projections have had to be adjusted.
Just like any other post industrial decade, most of Baltimore's Development revolved around the Harbor. Up until November 2006, we had Martin O'Malley (now Governor) as Mayor. Mayor O'Malley's tenure as Mayor was "putting neighborhoods first", this was a style of leadership Baltimore hadn't seen much of. In doing so O'Malley launched a handful of Plans to redevelop struggling Neighborhoods and build on their strengths. These plans are very long range and it will take some time before they can be gauged as successful or unsuccessful.
The Economic Downturn could have been much more disastrous to Baltimore but with O'Malley's "Neighborhoods First" echo ringing through City Hall long after entering the Governor's Mansion and outside forces like BRAC and EBDI, Baltimore's Neighborhoods outside the Harbor have gained popularity with their relative affordability and easy access to major Employers. So where will we see gains and where we will see losses? Well let me give my Amateur Opinion and when the 2010 Census is released, We'll compare and contrast together.
Greater Lauraville: Gain, this cluster of Neighborhoods which includes Lauraville, Arcadia, Morgan Park, Beverly Hills, and Waltherson have enjoyed an influx of new Residents and those who have lived there for generations. Harford Road has seen new anchors such as a Safeway and a CVS and a growing list of independent Restaurateurs. The recently completed Streetscape Enhancments of Harford Road have also made this area attractive and a more than a thoroughfare.
Hollins Market: Gain, In the 2000 Census Hollins Market's Vacancy Rate was a startling 25% despite boasting a gain between 1990 and 2000. With renewal efforts in and around Hollins Market that number appears to have gone down drastically. The highest concentration is in the two western most blocks. I'd say over all Hollins Market has a vacancy rate of 11% and by 2014 I wouldn't be surprised to see it in single digits. I think the demographics are roughly the same with a small jump in the Average Median Income.
Edmondson Village: Loss, Residents have been scared off by the dropping Home Ownership Rate and rise in Slum Lord Rentals. Violent Crime has also been on the rise in the latter part of the decade. Still, most of the Community's Row Homes are very well maintained and Edmondson Village still boasts a relatively high Home Ownership Rate. There is hope, once Uplands is redeveloped, Edmondson Village Shopping Center gets a better tenant roster, and if done right the Red Line will all attract new Residents who will buy homes here and do more than just "band aid" repairs. Another redevelopment opportunity for Edmondson Village could be Wildwood Gardens. Despite the efforts of one good Maintenance Engineer, Wildwood Gardens is just too old and warn down. A new mid to high rise mixed income development that takes advantage of the views offered by Leakin Park. I expect a gain between 2010 and 2020.
Fredrick Avenue: Loss, Don't fret there are many development and redevelopment opportunities here. Although Crime is a common deterrent for Residents both current and prospective redevelopment in Uplands and quite possibly troubled rental complexes such as Jamestown and areas near the MARC Line, like Edmondson Village, Fredrick Avenue will see a revival. Lucklily Fredrick Avenue isn't as bad as many other parts of the City.
Fells Point: Wash, One of Baltimore's Premier Neighborhoods has a lot of houses on the market. Many of these were bought by younger adults who have moved on due to work or growing families but their houses aren't selling. Fells Point is seeing new development and pretty much any house in Fells Point on the market is in demand, it's just a question of banks lending. Those selling in Fells Point may be doing so at a great loss having bought their homes at inflated prices but on the flip side Fells Point has become more affordable. I don't expect to see a numerical population change however, the demographics of Fells Point will see a large in its already strong Hispanic Population.
Pigtown: Gain, The 1980s saw a modest Population Gain for Pigtown but the 1990s saw that gain disappear and then some. In the 2000s Pigtown was rediscovered for its quirky charm, reasonably priced housing stock, a welcoming population of all economic and ethnic back rounds. A Brownfields Redevelopment Site produced Camden Crossing, a modern new town home development that will certainly up the Average Median Income for Pigtown. I see Pigtown continuing to become a trendy hot spot only if people stop calling Washington Village and address it by its proper name; Pigtown. Reservoir Hill: Wash, Reservoir Hill was hit hard by the flight to the suburbs. However, the late 1990s and up until the economic collapse, Reservoir Hill was being repopulated by Homesteaders who finally realized that with a little elbow grease, Reservoir Hill can be as nice as Bolton Hill to the south. In addition to Homesteaders, Home "Flippers" have bought in Reservoir Hill for less in hopes of selling it for more after Renovations. The economic conditions have left these flippers without any buyers which means they're losing money. A big hurdle for Reservoir Hill is the blighted Madison Park North Apartments along North Avenue. Redevelopment of these Apartments and new Development along Druid Park Lake Drive will help ensure continued success in Reservoir Hill. The Flippers will eventually get buyers. All these factors make me think the population hasn't changed in numbers.Hampden: Gain, like Pigtown, Hampden has built on its quirkiness and has brought much success to the Neighborhood. The Bee Hive Hairdo is alive and well here. Hampden's roots are that of a Mill Village with a working class population. This has led to an anti Gentrification as the population grows in hopes that Hampden will keep its charm and relative affordability. There has been some gentrification but it could be much worse. The Avenue, 34th St. Lights, Charm City Cakes, and Cafe Hon are just a few of Hampden's assets and attractions.
Rosemont: Loss, I believe the picture speaks for itself. Rosemont has been losing population due to lack of vitality, violent crime, poor retail, and the infamous "Road to Nowhere" have taken their toll on Rosemont. The Red Line and The West Baltimore MARC Redevelopment both promise to address all these issues but these are pipe dreams that are plagued with funding issues and poor planning. Meanwhile Rosemont will continue to decay. What's needed for Rosemont is to address its urban ills on a Human Scale not a redevelopment scale.
Greektown: Gain, Greektown's popularity has increased and during the annual Greekfest it becomes a regional all across the Greater Metro Area. Greektown lost 8.5% of its population in the 1990s but a Master Plan for the extreme Southeast including Greektown has turned the tide. New Town Homes known as Athena Sqaure along Oldham St. have ignited a development interest in the Greektown area. Before the economy collapsed, there were plans to build close to 1000 condos and town homes on an old industrial parcel. Also the proposed Highlandtown Loft District will bridge Highlandtown and Greektown together. Eastern Avenue streetscape enhancements have turned Greektown's Retail District into a quaint Village. A rise in the Community's Hispanic Population will add to the gain that Athena Square has brought. Greektown, I predict will be the next Hampden.Park Heights: Loss Ever wonder why the only Picture of Park Heights I have is the Community Entrance Sign? Well Park Heights scares me to death. Now as someone who would only be a potential traveler who has traveled through Pennsylvania Avenue, Oldtown Mall, East Baltimore Midway. Broadway East, Oliver, Rosemont, and Harlem Park and lives to tell about is scared of a Neighborhood it must REALLY be bad. My father grew up here on Queensbeery Avenue in the 5000 block which Residents compare to Baghdad and he'd take me down here and it was scary to say the least. Now if you're a Resident here, if given the chance to move out would you take it? If you were looking for a new home would Park Heights be your first choice? I didn't think so either. The City is draining the "core" of the Neighborhood out for a massive redevelopment effort. I hope it works I'd also like to see Pimlico Integrated into the Neighborhood better. Stay tuned for a post describing it in detail.Wilkens Avenue: Loss, there isn't much in the way of a Neighborhood draw along Wilkens Avenue. There are private Schools around here and the ever expanding St. Agnes Hospital. I do have ideas for this diamond in the rough including MARC TOD, making St. Agnes Hospital more Community Oriented, and $1 row homes. One problem Wilkens Avenue faces is Community Health including drug addiction, prostitution, and low High School attendance. This once solidly White Neighborhood has become more diverse over the past decade.
Brooklyn/Curtis Bay: Loss, It all depends on the block you're on. This sentiment is echoed throughout the entire Brooklyn/Curtis Bay Area. Some blocks are very well kept up while others have gone to the dogs. It used to be all the blocks were well kept up. I have plans to redevelop Brooklyn Homes, Bay Brook Apartments, Brooklyn Apartments, and three blocks above Brooklyn Homes. This will create a stronger Home Ownership throughout Brooklyn and in doing so will make Farring Bay Brook Park a stronger asset to the Neighborhood. Expect to see a rise in the Black and Hispanic Populations here especially in Brooklyn for 2010.
Westport: Loss, the Interstate Era and decline of Rust Belt Cities have ravaged this once Working and Middle Class Neighborhood. Even with the promise of Patrick Turner's multi billion redevelopment of the Westport Waterfront into a glitzy "second downtown", residents living in extreme poverty are being priced out before the construction even begins. Westport won't see a gain until they start seeing progress on the Waterfront. Part of Westport Homes has also been demolished. Hopefully in 2020 I'll be singing a different tune.Belair Edison: Gain, Belair Edison boasted a population gain the 1990s and I expect the trend to have continued in the past decade. It hasn't been completely smooth sailing for Belair Edison. The past three years saw an increase in Violent Crime and Belair Road, which was lined with Car Dealerships close up shop. Residents have shown a great sense of Community Pride and have started Neighborhood Watch Programs and have become great friends and allies with their fellow Neighbors. Across Sinclair Lane, the troubled Freedom Village and Claremont Homes developments hit the wrecking ball in favor of the mixed income Orchard Ridge. This will prove to yet another draw to Belair Edison other than the proximity to highways throughout the City and the fact that hardly any other row house neighborhood with affordable housing stock has so much grass and trees.
Upper Patterson/McElderry Park: Wash, Upper Patterson Park has gained population, as homesteaders have discovered the neighborhood with powers in hand. McElderry Park above Fayette St. has had the opposite effect. It seems that McElderry Park is emptying out while Patterson Park is filling up with a diverse array of residents including Whites moving back and vibrant Hispanic Community. McElderry Park experienced White Flight in the 1980s and Black Flight in the 1990s and 2000s. What's needed is to blur the line (Fayette St.) between Patterson Park and McElderry Park. If what's been traditionally known as McElderry Park becomes known as an extension of Patterson Park, it will see growth and tax revenue. Growth and tax revenue will attract City Services to fight crime and Community Health issues. Between the two neighborhoods put together I'd put the population the same as it was in 2000.
Middle East: Loss, Hopkins is having to destroy Middle East in order to save it. With a 30% vacancy rate in 2000 Middle East, lying north of Hopkins has been targeted as a place for the Johns Hopkins Biotech Park. The buck doesn't stop with the Biotech Park. Hopkins has turned Developer with the East Baltimore Development Initiative or the EBDI for short. The EBDI promises over 1500 units of new mixed income housing and rehabs of homes that they see fit. How does this translate into a population loss? Well, Hopkins has had demolish close to the entire Neighborhood to embark on this journey. Some of the demolished Homes had people living in them and they were forced to vacate. The first new housing has come down the pipe line in the form of Low Income Senior Apartments known as Ashland Gardens at the corner of Broadway and Ashland Avenue. Station North: Gain, just label an area an Arts & Entertainment District and the Artists with big visions and lots of sweat equity won't be far behind. This has been the tale of Station North. Anchored by Penn Station and the Charles Theater, Station North has seen an explosion of Art Galleries, Bars, and old Industrial Buildings turned into Loft Apartments. All of this had been vacant so marks for a huge percentage gain and a rather generous numerical gain as well. There was White Flight in the 1980s and 90s but this past decade has seen a gain in both White and Korean Residents. The latter demographic has inspired Baltimore's first "Asia Town" bordering Charles Village which has a large Chinese Population. The blight gap between Mount Vernon and Charles Village has closed. Next stop; Greenmount West and Barclay!
Fallstaff: Gain, This once solidly Jewish Neighorhood saw an influx of Black Residents in the 1980s and 90s and then a Hispanic influx in the past decade. This has made for Baltimore's largest enclave of Cultural Diversity. I project that Fallstaff is 1/3 Jewish, 1/3 Black, and 1/3 Hispanic with a large Jamaican population below Northern Parkway. The influxes have made for population gains. The Hispanic influx has made for a smaller Average Median Income as have the Jews who didn't move out to the Suburbs. I think the Black Population might boast the highest incomes in Fallstaff. This makes Fallstaff, in my opinion a very interesting area.Now what will all this mean for Baltimore as a whole? I think Baltimore's population has been hurdling at about 640,000 since 2005. After losing 80,000 residents in the 1990s, only losing 10,000 in five years and keeping that number for five years bodes well for the future. Baltimore's Population loss might have ended and growth might not be far behind. I think the largest growth will be in the Hispanic Population in the Southeast and Fallstaff. I think White Flight has ended while Black Residents are moving to the County. There's an undertone when I talk about Neighborhoods that have gained population being in close proximity to the MARC lines and major highways. This means that new Residents are transplants from other Cities and aren't working in Baltimore. This means that Baltimore is slowing becoming a suburb of itself. Our new Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake is well aware of that which is why her agenda involves moving more big business into Baltimore to make it self sustaining. Remember, we can't move forward until you send it back!


Anonymous said...

yeah-Pigtown 4 ever!

Anonymous said...

I've been following your blog for a while and i think its incredible! You are a genius. Run for mayor, please!

I can not wait for the census. I hope Baltimore gains population. I know for sure that the population has at very least started to decrease less and less over the years, so that's great news!

Curious though, why so afraid of Park Heights? Perhaps the stories of your family member's have influence your fright of the neighborhood? I really don't think it's as bad as Sandtown or Broadway Esat, though i have limited experience in the neighborhood.

Lastly, i just want to say, i really want Reservoir Hill to rise again. It is the most gorgeous neighborhood in the city imo. I really hope it's population has grown.

Keep up the great work!

Spence Lean said...

Thank you so much for your kinds words and asking me to run for Mayor. Even if I did and won, the fact of the matter is to get everything in this blog turned into a reality, I'd have to be a dictator or I'd strike back room deals to make money available to fund these projects. Also these things would have to be approved by the City Council, the MTA, the State, the Feds, and any other Baltimore stakeholder (too many to name) so anything on this blog would be marginalized, just look at the Obama Health Care Bill. But thanks again for your kind words of support, keep reading I'll keep writing.

Anonymous said...

Great blog. Absolutly wonderful.

DNH said...

Love the blog, and I'm a political consultant. I'll be checking back here frequently from now on.