Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The McHenry Row Effect

Mixed Use Development has taken the market by storm. It's great for both suburbs that are low on land and great for Cities that need to bring suburban type stores to an urban setting. Some mixed use developments are better than others. My favorite mixed use development is McHenry Row located in Locust Point. It combines the need for a large suburban Grocery Store with Ground Floor Retail and Apartments above. There's also an Office Building and two parking garages to cut down on wasted space. A second phase for McHenry Row is planned that includes more Apartments, Offices, and a Hotel.
The Grocery Store is located at the back of the Center but the Main St. layout keeps it visible from the road. The Main St. that runs through the Center is flanked by the Apartments with ground floor Retail. The office Building is located on the Main St. as well while the parking garages are perfectly located to provide adequate parking without over-powering the buildings. In fact, I'm so impressed with the layout of McHenry Row that I would like to redevelop other Shopping Centers that have a suburban layout in Baltimore City using the same basic concepts as McHenry Row. I would call it the McHenry Row Effect.
Waverly Crossroads, at the moment this Center is nothing but a Giant and surface parking lot located in Waverly along 33rd St. My plan would be to build a parking garage at the back of the existing surface lot and build row house retail with 33rd St. frontage. The parking garage would serve both the Giant as well as the new retail.
Mount Clare Junction, Mount Clare Junction is already a mixed use development but I find it to be suburban in nature and doesn't connect with its surroundings. The Price Rite Grocery Store will stay where it is and the Retail will move across the parking lot and closer to the Price Rite's front door. This new Retail will have Apartments above it like McHenry Row. The Retail and Apartments will have parking garages behind it.
Part of this redevelopment will better incorporate the B&O Railroad Museum to this development and will also see the development of the vacant surface parking lot at the end of Ostend St. Along Pratt St., the Baltimore Housing Authority has Offices. These will remain but the building will grow taller by several stories so that the upper floors may provide housing for the homeless. Hopefully a redeveloped Mount Clare Junction will usher new investment to the surrounding Mount Clare Neighborhood where there are many vacants.
Southside Marketplace, this is another suburban style center that's located in the middle of the City. This time it's Southside Marketplace located in South Baltimore just outside Locust Point. In fact, it's just across Key Highway from McHenry Row which is the prototype Center for this post. Southside is anchored by a Shoppers Food Warehouse and includes a traditional line up of Retail tenants. This Center's facade was modernized in the late 2000s but it wasn't redeveloped.
I would like to see it redeveloped in true urban fashion. The redevelopment includes building a new Shoppers just behind the railroad tracks and I would relocate the Retail with Apartments above it closer to the intersection of Forte Ave. and Lawrence St. with parking garages where the current Shoppers is and behind the Merritt Athletic Club.  
As space for new development in Cities is at more and more of a premium, Retail will continue to urbanize itself by putting other uses over top of it be it Residential, Commercial, or Hotel. McHenry Row has captured that need perfectly through its present and future uses and its model can and should be replicated through the redevelopment of suburban Centers in the City.


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Anonymous said...

Try getting out of McHenry Row at 5pm. Key Highway now has 2 failing intersections and many people turn into the complex from Key only to use it as a cut through to Fort Ave. Very poor egress/ingress.