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Red Emma's to serve dinner next month in new Station North spot

Red Emma’s Bookstore Coffeehouse plans to serve a full dinner menu next month at its new Station North location.

The store opened Nov. 20 at its new location at 30 W. North Ave., where it roasts its own coffee beans from Thread Coffee on site. It initially offered baked goods and expanded its cafe menu Dec. 5 to include sandwiches, soups and salads. The nine-year-old radical bookstore and coffeehouse announced its move from Mount Vernon late last year. 
 
Previously occupied by Cyclops Books, the new space is 4,600 square feet, nearly six times the size of its 800-square-foot spot on Saint Paul Street.
 
“In the old space, one of the problems that we had was that all the space we had was what you saw,” Khatib says.
 
Now the coffeehouse has designated space for storage, a kitchen, an office and bathrooms. 
 
The vegetarian menu will be expanded to include kale, potato wedges and vegan mac and cheese. It will continue to serve soups and sandwiches during the day. 
 
Red Emma’s is a co-op and will add more collective-owners to its staff. While the business does not hire new workers, it does bring people into the project as worker-owners, people who are interested in investing in the project long-term.
 
“The members that we have right now are not enough to fill all of the shifts that we’re going to need so we will be looking to add new folks to the co-op,” Khatib says.


Writer: Daryl Hale
Source: Kate Khatib, Red Emma's 

Nonprofit rehabbing rowhomes near Penn Station for affordable housing

Empire Homes of Maryland has bought six rowhouses in the Station North Arts and Entertainment District that it will renovate and turn into affordable, one-bedroom apartments for the disabled.

The $3.3 million project in the 1600, 1700 and 1800 blocks of North Calvert Street will result in 18 apartments when its completed this summer. Construction will begin in January.

The Baltimore City Housing Authority owned the vacant rowhouses that are spread throughout the project site. Empire Homes, a non-profit developer and property manager of affordable housing headquartered on North Charles Street, bought the rowhouses at a cost of about $10,000 each, according to president and CEO T.F. Burden.
 
“Because they are public housing properties, they can only be used for that purpose," Buden says. "They can’t be rehabbed and sold for market rate or turned into single-family housing.”
 
The rowhouses are located near Amtrak’s Pennsylvania Station and Baltimore School of Design, a public high school.
 
Each of the six rowhouses will contain three units. Rent will cost about $650 per month, with the tenant paying a maximum of 30 percent of his or her income. The city and Innovative Housing Institute, a downtown nonprofit, will choose tenants from the city’s housing choice voucher wait list.
 
Empire Homes obtained funding from several sources for the project, including $1.8 million from the state, $700,000 from the city, $300,000 from the Federal Home Loan Bank and $300,000 from bank financing.
 
Last July, Empire Homes opened another affordable rental project in Station North. The Lillian Jones Apartments, at 1303 Greenmount Ave., were constructed on a vacant lot. The four-story, 74-unit building has one- , two- and three-bedroom apartments. Empire Homes and city real estate developer the French Development Company partnered on the $16.1 million project.
 
Source: T.F. Burden, Empire Homes of Maryland
Writer: Barbara Pash at bpash@comcast.net
 

MICA opening $16M dorm next month in Bolton Hill

Students at Maryland Institute College of Art looking to live on campus will get new digs next month. The Bolton Hill art college is opening a $16.3 million residence hall as enrollment grows and unveiling a $3 million renovation of its residential complex.
 
Located at 130 McMechen St., Leake Hall will house 240 students in 62 units. Part of the college's newly named Founder's Green Residential Complex, Leake Hall will include a performance space, lecture hall and artist studios. 

Renovations to the residential complex include a new entrance at the John H.B. Latrobe House and a new student lounge, a grill-style dining facility and expanded laundry facilities at Margaret F.S. Glace Hall. Baltimore architecture firm Hord Coplan Macht designed Leake Hall while Ayers Saint Gross handled the renovations. MICA financed the construction and renovations primarily through tax exempt bonds issued by the school and the Maryland Health and Higher Education Facilities Authority.
 
MICA has been updating and expanding its campus its facilities and housing in recent years to accommodate its student growth. Renovations to Studio Center, a complex for graduate programs on North Avenue, wrapped up last fall.
 
In 2008, MICA debuted its $30 million Gateway complex at the intersection of North Avenue and Mount Royal Avenue.  The dorm houses 215 students in apartment-style housing.
 
MICA enrolls nearly 3,000 undergraduate, graduate and continuing education students. Enrollment grew 16 percent last year. 
 
 
Source: Jessica Weglein, MICA’s director of public relations
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, Alexandra@bmoremedia.com
 
 

Liam Flynn's Ale House expanding with new food menu and more seats

Liam Flynn’s Ale House in the Station North Arts and Entertainment District is expanding with additional seating and a new kitchen, featuring Scottish and Irish favorites to go with their popular beers and ales.
 
The expansion will increase the Ale House’s footprint within the North Avenue Market building where it’s located from 2,200 square feet to 3,000 square feet, says Liam Flynn, who co-owns the bar with wife Jessica. The Ale House currently seats about 64 and after the renovation, it will increase its capacity to about 100 with new outdoor tables and more seats at the bar. The new kitchen should be ready by August.
 
Located at 22 W. North Ave., the bar carries 15 beers on tap and specializes in British Isles ales, whiskeys, beers and ciders. Currently, it brings in pre-packaged foods from other restaurants, but hasn’t had a kitchen of its own.
 
Flynn says they get a lot of customers who come from the train station and area theaters, but because they don’t serve food, patrons have a pint and leave.
 
Once the new kitchen is open, Flynn says they’ll add a menu of Scottish and Irish favorites, such as Scotch eggs, and a Plowman’s Platter of bread, cheese and relish. The summer menu will feature smoked meat and fish, the winter menu will showcase slow cooked game. Flynn says he hopes to source as much food locally as possible.
 
The Ale House has six employees. With the new kitchen and planned daytime hours, Flynn says the number could double. Currently, the bar opens at 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and at 1 p.m. on Sundays.
 
Partnering with community groups, Flynn hopes to use the Ale House as a home base to train neighborhood residents for jobs in the food service industry. “We just want to be a positive influence in the neighborhood, especially coming from that we’re selling alcohol.”
 
The North Avenue Market building underwent a $1 million facelift last year. In addition to Liam Flynn’s, the Market building houses the WindUp Space and the Baltimore Print Studios. Red Emma’s Bookstore Coffeehouse, previously located in Mount Vernon, plans to move to the building this fall.
 
Writer: Amy Landsman
Source: Liam Flynn, co-owner Liam Flynn’s Ale House.
 

Developer moves ahead on 86-unit apartment complex in Station North

The developer behind Milk & Honey Market and the reopening of the Chesapeake restaurant is plotting an 86-unit apartment complex on Lanvale Street next to his new food establishments, which are weeks away from opening.
 
Ernst Valery says he expects to select an architect by July for the market-rate studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments. Construction on the yet-to-be named building in the Station North Arts and Entertainment District will begin a year from now and wrap up by summer of 2015. Valery says he hasn’t yet determined apartment rates.
 
The apartment building is the latest project in a neighborhood that is attracting more interest among city officials, developers and universities. A developer hired by Amtrak has proposed shops, housing and offices around Penn Station. Johns Hopkins University is moving some of its arts programs to the neighborhood and the Maryland Institute College of Art has purchased two buildings in the area.
 
But the neighborhood could use more housing, Valery says.
 
“Its a step toward making the neighborhood really great and realizing its full potential,” Valery says of his project.
 
Valery says he is now securing financing for the apartments and declined to provide details until the plans are finalized.
 
Station North’s Milk & Honey Market and the new Chesapeake Restaurant will open in two to three weeks, Valery says. It will be the city’s second Milk & Honey. The other one is located in Mount Vernon. Chesapeake, which will focus on regional cuisine, bears the same name as the restaurant that shuttered a quarter century ago. The property has since been vacant.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Ernst Valery

ETC scouts Station North, UMB BioPark for new location

The head of the Emerging Technology Center in Canton says she is eyeing the Station North Arts & Entertainment District and the BioPark at the University of Maryland, Baltimore among possible locations when the incubator's Canton lease is up in October.

Several growing firms have moved out of the ETC's Canton location recently to bigger offices and some where prompted by the fact that the incubator's future in Canton is uncertain.

Deborah Tillett, executive director of the Emerging Technology Centers, says the ETC is in talks with landlords in both locations.

“There’s a lot going on in both of those places,” says Tillett, who described the areas as “exciting and vibrant” with a “lot going on.”

The Station North area is attracting investment from the Maryland Institute College of Art and a number of private developers. Located on the city's west side, the UMB BioPark's tenants include Noxilizer, Gliknik and PathSensors. In conjunction with Advanced Particle Therapy LLC of San Diego, the biopark is building a $200 million proton treatment cancer center.

Tillet says that she isn’t ruling out staying in its current home, the retail and office complex known as the Can Company where the ETC has about 40,000 square feet. Also on the table is moving to the ETC’s other location @ Johns Hopkins Eastern on 33rd Street.

“We’ve taken a look all over the city,” Tillett says. “We’re exploring all kinds of options. I do need to keep my options open.”

Operated by the Baltimore Development Corp., the ETC’s tenants include early-stage tech, biotech, engineering and design companies. Storyfarm New Media LLC, Urban Design Group LLC and Localist recently moved out of the ETC’s Canton location. Groove Commerce is moving to a 10,000-square-foot space in the Fallsway Spring building.

Video production company Storyfarm moved this month to a 1,500-square-foot office at 1909 Thames St. in Fells Point. Storyfarm was lured by the waterfront location and a chance to split an office with architecture firm Urban Design Group, says Storyfarm Partner Dan Gerlach. The company, whose clients include T. Rowe Price Group Inc. and Exxon Mobil, employs seven. It will hire a video editor, cinematographer and office coordinator over the next several months.
 
Last month, Localist moved to a 1,500-square-foot office in Canton’s the Broom Factory, at 3500 Boston St. The company, which provides a customizable online calendar for universities, needed more space, CEO Mykel Nahorniak says. Localist employs six and is hiring a developer and someone to run customer service. 

Writer: Julekha Dash
Sources: Deborah Tillett, ETC; Dan Gerlach, Storyfarm; Mykel Nahorniak, Localist 

Retro clothing boutique moves from Hampden to Station North

A retro clothing boutique has moved from Hampden to the growing Station North Arts and Entertainment District.
 
My Dear Vintage relocated last month from 3610 Falls Road to 2015 North Charles St. in the Charles North neighborhood. Along with the women’s vintage clothing and accessories, owner Brandi Foster now offers men’s vintage and home goods in her 1,800-square-foot shop.  She held a grand opening party Jan. 26 with wine and cupcakes for her 115 guests.
 
Foster opened her first physical location last June in the 200-square-foot space above Lovely Yarns near the Avenue but moved out to search for a larger store. Foster enjoyed having her boutique in Hampden but wanted to look for larger locations so she could add more merchandise.

She started searching for available places in November and was impressed when she came across the former church that has a massive storefront window to showcase items, an upstairs loft area and space for fitting rooms. The new location has the potential for drawing customers because the Station North Arts neighborhood is attracting more college students, Foster says. More students are coming to the area with the expansion of the Maryland Institute College of Art.
 
My Dear Vintage carries seasonal vintage and home decor ranging from $2 to $50. Current hot items include men’s graphic T-shirts and faux fur jackets, Foster says. Foster still runs her boutique alone. She plans to add children’s vintage to her clothing line this spring or summer.
 
Source: Brandi Foster, owner of My Dear Vintage
Writer: Jolene Carr

New fast-food restaurant opening three Maryland locations

A local entrepreneur is bringing fried chicken and fish to diners in Greater Baltimore with his new fast-food concept.
 
Munir Qreini is opening three Freestyle Fish n' Chicken restaurants in Maryland by the end of the year and could spend as much as $200,000 on each of the new restaurants. Qreini says he is in negotiations to open two spots in Baltimore City by the end of April. One is in a former Quiznos in Dundalk and the other in the 2000 block of North Howard Street in midtown Baltimore, just north of the Station North Arts and Entertainment District. He is still scouting sites for the third location.
 
Qreini already has two other Freestyle Fish n’ Chicken stores. In July, he opened a 2,100-square-foot restaurant in a former KFC at 100 N. Howard St. And earlier this month he opened a store in Bowie.  
 
Freestyle serves salads, fried tilapia and catfish, Philly cheese steaks, chicken tenders and tacos. Qreini has devised his own Mambo sauce, a spin on honey mustard, that’s served with chicken, fish and fries. The business owner gets his fish from Jessup’s Reliant Fish Co.
 
Qreini’s 15 years in the restaurant business, including opening three Jack’s Famous Wings in Chicago, helped him devise the menu and concept. He considers his first Baltimore eatery on the west side a good area because it’s near the Hippodrome and new location for the Everyman Theatre. The restaurant also has a 1,000-square-foot space for private meetings that can hold up to 50.
 
Qreini currently has five employees for his west side location and plans to hire more as business expands.
 
Sources: Munir Qreini, Owner of Freestyle Fish n’ Chicken; Janine Nickel, Marketing Consultant, Maisel Development Co.
Writer: Jolene Carr

MICA Food Truck Rolls into Bolton Hill

Hungry students and residents of Bolton Hill have a new way of grabbing food on the go.
 
Maryland Institute College of Art's (MICA) new mobile kitchen, The Artist's Palate, now provides sandwiches, falafels, burritos, tacos, soups and hamburgers at a variety of food and drink locations around the art school's campus community.
 
The college spent approximately $100,000 to get the former bread truck up and running with a kitchen that includes refrigeration, a sandwich station, and a deep fryer. The truck is operated by Parkhurst Dining Services and managed by MICA.

Since launching last month, the food truck has been a hit with students, workers, and neighborhood residents alike, says Chris Bohaska, MICA's senior director of operations business services.
 
A food truck has been planned for the campus community for a couple of years, Bohaska says. The combination of the expansion of the campus onto North Avenue, as well as the unique schedule of MICA students who often take full-day studio art courses, provided the impetus to find a 'creative solution' to provide a variety of food options to the campus community.
 
Using social media such as Facebook and Twitter to broadcast its location, the food truck cycles to various campus spots. Social media will enable customers to determine which locations serve the community best, Bohaska says. Its schedule and locations will fluctuate semester by semester.
 
Food trucks on college campuses are relatively new, Bohaska says. He also believes that the campus is the first in Maryland to have a food truck operated by the institution.
 
Source: Chris Bohaska, MICA senior director, operations business services
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, alexandra@bmoremedia.com
 
 

Senator Theatre Could Reopen in the Spring

Construction on the historic Senator Theatre could begin the end of this month or early September now that it has the city's go ahead, says Kathleen Cusack, a co-leasee of the property with her father, Buzz Cusack.

The new Senator with its four movie screens and wine bar could open March 2013, depending on the construction schedule. The city's Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation OK'd the Cusacks' plan earlier this month. The entire project is costing $3 million, of which the Cusacks are investing $1 million, and the remainder is from a commercial bank loan and city and state funding.

The Cusacks are now in the process of restoring the main lobby. The original wood paneling and mural are under restoration and professional artists have been hired to do the work, she says. Cusack says the restored theater and its additions will open together, and not in phases. 

The Senator Theatre occupies about 65 percent of its lot, leaving a small area for parking in the rear. Cusack says they are expanding the theater by “filling in the corners” of the lot with the construction of the three new theaters and the wine bar.

The main theater “needs a lot of work,” Cusack says. It formerly seated between 800 to 900 people, but the original seats are being replaced with seats that are larger and more comfortable and she expects its seating capacity to be 770 when the work is done.

Cusack leases The Charles Theater, 1711 North Charles St., in the Station North Arts and Entertainment District. But Cusack says that plans for the Senator are quite different from the Charles.
 
“The Charles is an art house,” says Cusack, and plays films that are often not shown in other venues in Baltimore.  “The Senator has never been an art house. It has always played big Hollywood products. And, we don’t want to compete with the Charles.”
 
After a competitive process in which four proposals were submitted, Baltimore City last year awarded the Cusacks a 40-year lease on the property. The city bought the theater three years ago after it went into foreclosure. 
 
One of the new auditoriums will have a seating capacity of 150; the other two auditoriums will seat between 60 to 80 people each. “It will be like any movie theater with multiple screens. The auditoriums will play national movies,” like the Senator itself, she says.
 
The wine bar will serve light fare and feature outdoor tables along York Road.
 
“Our vision is to restore the Senator as a beautiful Art Deco movie palace,” says Cusack.
 
Source: Kathleen Cusack, The Senator Theatre
Writer: Barbara Pash

Vintage Clothing and Second-Hand Store Planned Near Station North

After 15 years of collecting one-of-a-kind and second-hand items from her travels, entrepreneur Mary Garcia plans to open a store dedicated to affordable uniqueness this August in the Barclay neighborhood near the Station North Arts & Entertainment District in Baltimore.
 
Garcia says she invested more than $50,000 in the merchandise and renovation of Old All-Around Vintage Finds, which she plans to open at 2129 St. Paul St. following a hearing at the city's zoning board August 7.
 
Garcia wants to create a place where the past meets the present where everyone from bargain hunters to vintage clothing lovers to children will find something at the new store. 
 
"This has been my dream. This is it," Garcia says.
 
The store will sell vintage women's clothing including fashions from the 1920s, 1960s and 1980s. The store will also sell a variety of pieces that Garcia has collected including decorative housewares and collectible dolls.
 
Garcia wants to improve the surrounding community that she describes as friendly and in-need of small businesses with affordable goods. Garcia also hopes to attract art students and visitors to nearby Station North to her shop.
 
As part of the renovations to the 900-square-foot space, Garcia added new windows and floor, repaired water damage, and installed French doors from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.
 
Baltimore reminds Garcia of her native Dominican Republic, and she plans to relocate to the city from Silver Spring with her teenage daughters. She wants to expose them to the experience of owning a small business.
 
A first-time business owner, Garcia has worked for the past 25 years in customer service and has an academic background in merchandising and marketing.
 
Source: Mary Garcia, owner of Old All-Around Vintage Finds.
 Writer: Alexandra Wilding, alexandra@bmoremedia.com


Design Center Moves to Station North

A design collaborative composed of university officials and architects have found a permanent home at the North Avenue Market building in Station North.
 
D Center members moved this month from their temporary home at 218 W. Saratoga St. in downtown Baltimore to the 3,500-square-foot spot at 16 W. North Ave. Money from the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts is funding the move and D Center programming, which will include exhibits, lectures and other events that will involve collaboration among artists, architects and academics, says D Center Board President Klaus Philipsen.
 
During the past year, D center collaborated with numerous partners, including the Creative Alliance’s Art to Dine For series, the Transmodern Festival, and Wide Angle Youth Media. D center has also formed ongoing partnerships with area colleges and universities, who use D center’s exhibition and meeting space to conduct classes and hold design reviews.
 
D center has also formed ongoing partnerships with area colleges and universities, who use D center’s exhibition and meeting space to conduct classes and hold design reviews.

Home to Liam Flynn’s Ale House and Baltimore Print Studios, the North Avenue Market is undergoing a $1 million makeover. The addition of D Center is the latest development in the Station North Arts and Entertainment District that has seen a number of new restaurants, housing and shops in recent years. One of its long-vacant buildings is getting a Flemish beer-themed restaurant and a Milk and Honey Market.

Writer: Julekha Dash; julekha@bmoremedia.com
Source: Klaus Philipsen

Belgian Beers and Waffles Coming to Former Chesapeake Space in September

The owner of a Belgian brasserie slated for the Station North Arts and Entertainment District says he is eyeing a September opening for De Kleine Duivel if construction stays on schedule.
 
The 2,700-square-foot restaurant will serve Belgian beer along with Flemish and French dishes, including a Flemish stew, moules frites and ratatouille, Owner Paul Kopchinski says. Patrons can also order Belgian waffles for dessert and Saturday and Sunday brunch.
 
Kopchinski says he’s not sure yet how much he will invest in the new restaurant at 1709 N. Charles St., but says he’ll meet the $200,000 threshold needed to get a new liquor license.
 
Kopchinski says he plans to hire about 20 to staff the restaurant, which will offer outdoor seating.
 
De Kleine Duivel will join Milk and Honey Market and one other restaurant in the Station North spot that has been vacant for a quarter of a century. Developer Ernst Valery says he expects all of the businesses to open in the fall. The city’s second Milk and Honey will operate as a café rather than a market. Valery says he couldn’t yet share any information on the second full-service restaurant that will open in the fall.
 
The new businesses will finally bring more activity to a dormant corner of the neighborhood that has been steadily gaining new eateries, art galleries and events, but will lose an anchor tenant in the fall when Everyman Theatre moves to the west side.
 
Kopchinski had originally eyed Hampden for his beer-themed restaurant before settling on Station North.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Paul Kopchinski, De Kleine Duivel 


State Bond Bill Earmarked for Baltimore Design School

A new transformation school in Baltimore has gotten help from the state in designing its future.
 
Baltimore Design School will use a $200,000 state bond to help renovate the school's future location in the Station North Arts and Entertainment District and add to its operating fund, says Paul Jacob, Chair of the Facilities Committee for Baltimore Design School.
 
A bond bill passed by the Maryland General Assembly during the 2012 legislative session funded the grant along with a total of $7.5 million in various projects across the state.
 
Baltimore Design School, a Baltimore City Public Transformation School, focuses on applied design fields including graphic design, fashion design, and architecture. The school currently has classes for grades 6 and 7, but will eventually serve more than 600 students in grades 6 to 12. The school opened last fall and is in a temporary location in the Kenilworth Park neighborhood of Baltimore until the renovations are complete.
 
The school began renovations at the site at 1500 Barclay St. last month and contractors so far have gutted and cleaned the interior of the building. The building sat vacant for more than 20 years but was most recently used for clothing manufacturing, Jacob says.
 
Contractors will work to improve the structural frame of the building including exterior brickwork.
 
Over the next year, the school will go through the basic construction process including laying all of the utility lines, putting up drywall, and refitting the entire building with new windows.
 
Eventually the school will provide state-of-the-art computer labs and technology to support the ever-changing design fields.
 
Construction is expected to be completed by May 2013 and is on schedule, Jacob says.
 
Source: Paul Jacob, chair of the facilities committee for Baltimore Design School.
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, alexandra@bmoremedia.com
 
 

Station North Flea Market Kicks Off Saturday

You just might find that treasure you've been looking for this weekend at the opening of the Station North Flea Market.
 
The season opens Saturday, May and will run on the first Saturday of every month until October at the corner of Lafayette and Charles Streets in the Station North Arts and Entertainment District.

Previously the market was held on the unit block of East North Avenue, but the decision was made to relocate the market from a busy and loud location on North Avenue to an area better scaled for a flea market, says Ben Stone, executive director of the Station North Arts and Entertainment District. 

One of the main goals of the market, Stone says, is to create a vibrant community event that engages locals, visitors, and artists alike. The market helps to build community for both older residents of Station North, as well as younger artists and students.  

This year, the flea market will commission some small, affordable pieces of artwork. The goal was to create a way for people to get quality art rather inexpensively, Stone says.
 
Other offerings include antiques, vintage clothes, crafts, and household items.
 
Stone expects at least one or two food trucks selling their culinary creations on-site.
 
If the weather is good, tours will be offered of the murals painted recently as part of the Open Walls Baltimore project. The opening of the flea market will also coincide with the opening of the Maryland Film Festival.
 
For vendors interested in participating in the flea market, the market is first-come, first-served. The cost is $20 and tables can be rented on site for $10.
 
Send an email to info@stationnorth.org to reserve a space in advance.
 
Source:  Ben Stone, executive director of the Station North Arts and Entertainment District.
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, alexandra@bmoremedia.com
 
 
 
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