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Former Bourbon Street spot in downtown Baltimore could get a new owner

Two employees of a music promotion firm want to revive the space that held Bourbon Street and Hammerjacks nightclubs for a new live entertainment venue in downtown Baltimore.

Evan Weinstein and Elliot Lidard have applied for an arena liquor license under the name Area 316 LLC at 316-318 Guilford Ave. The application says Area 316 plans to offer live performances, alcohol and food though one of the applicants, Evan Weinstein, says there are no plans to serve food. The deadline for public comment on the application is May 30. The Baltimore City liquor board says the hearing will be scheduled sometime after then.

The liquor license application names Weinstein as Area 316’s president and Elliot Lidard as its secretary. Weinstein is in charge of marketing and promotions and Lidard of production for Steez Promo, which promotes music acts and shows in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Boston. Steez Promo is promoting the Moonrise Festival, which will be held June 8-9 at Port Covington. 

Weinstein says Area 316 will own and operate the business. He declined to comment further until the details are worked out. Lidard could not be reached for comment. 

Bourbon Street opened in 2008. One of its rooms held 1,300 people and 500 fit into another, according to reverbnation.com. Bands and DJs played rap, rock and dance music. A man was stabbed to death there April 2, 2011, the Baltimore Sun reported. It closed six months later.

In 2000, the two-story building became the new home of Hammerjacks, whose original space was demolished for Ravens stadium parking. The club closed in 2006. Competition had increased two years earlier with the start of Rams Head Live several blocks away in Power Plant Live. 

Writer: Wayne Countryman
Sources: Baltimore City liquor board, Evan Weinstein. 

Admiral's Cup expanding to include rooftop bar

The Admiral’s Cup Restaurant & Bar is expanding to include the second and third floors of the Fells Point building as Kali’s Restaurant Group continues its renovation of the property.

The expansion will give the restaurant a rooftop deck and wrap up in summer of 2014, adding 2,000 square feet and space for another 200 guests, says Admiral’s Cup General Manager Kenneth Petty. The current 1,250-square-foot restaurant holds can accommodate 110.

The restaurant group is adding a different concept on the upper floors to go along with the restaurant’s rustic nautical theme, says Petty, who is also a partner at Kali’s. He declined to divulge all of the details until all the partners are ready to disclose the information later this year.

The restaurant will continue to offer its “upscale casual” pub menu that is seafood-heavy, with dishes like Maryland crab soup, crab cakes and broiled salmon.

With waterfront views from all of its windows, the building has potential to bring in more business, Petty says. “This corner is a marquee property in Fells Point,” Petty says.

Kali’s bought the Admiral’s Cup in 2010 for $2 million and has spent more than $1 million on renovations. It hired Baltimore design firm Rita St. Clair to redo the interior, which features tin ceilings, restored hardwood floors and flat-screen TVs.

Kali’s owns Tapas Adela, Kali’s Court and Mezze in Fells Point. 

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Kenneth Petty, Admiral's Cup

Dress for Success getting more closet space in new Northeast Baltimore digs

The local affiliate of Dress for Success is moving to 5525 Belair Road in June, an expansion that will give the nonprofit more room to outfit low-income women with gently used professional clothing.
 
Dress will occupy about 1,300-square-feet on the lower level and first floor of a rowhouse in the city’s Waltherson neighborhood in Northeast Baltimore.
 
Since 2009, Dress for Success has been renting space in the Anchorage Building, belonging to St. Ann Parish Church at 528 E. 22nd Street in the city’s Barclay neighborhood.
 
Dress for Success Executive Director Cleona Garfield says the nonprofit has outgrown the Anchorage and has been searching for larger quarters since 2011 after getting more donations.
 
The nonprofit received $23,000 in donations in fiscal year 2011, the most recent tax return filed on GuideStar. Garfield says she couldn’t even guess how many donations it received recently.
 
“Oh boy! I don’t know how to explain it to you other than to say we get a lot of donations.”
 
Property owner Jacob Danyali, the owner of Mercury Management LLC, says he’ll invest about $10,000 into painting, refinishing the wood floors, and other improvements for the group. Dress for Success will pay an undisclosed below-market rent.  Danyali has owned the property about ten years.
 
Dress for Success will use the first floor for the boutique and offices, and the lower floor for clothing storage. The boutique is set up just like a shop, with work-appropriate career coats, dresses, suits, blouses and blazers, all neatly sized and on racks. Shoes and bags are also on display.
 
A volunteer stylist meets with the client, gets an idea of her style, and selects an outfit for her. The client then tries everything on to see how it looks.
 
Once a client lands a new job, she returns to Dress for Success for additional clothes to help her build a professional wardrobe.
 
Dress for Success also runs career development workshops, focusing on everything from money management, to the importance of showing up for work on time.
 
Many of Baltimore’s Dress for Success clients find jobs in customer service; others land entry-level work in medicine or education. In 2012, the organization helped 500 women.
 
Dress for Success in Baltimore has about 20 volunteers. Founded in New York in 1997, Dress for Success now has affiliates across the U.S. and worldwide.
 
 
Reporter: Amy Landsman
Sources: Cleona Garfield, executive director, Dress for Success Baltimore; Jacob Danyali, owner, Mercury Management

Top Kitty Boutique opening second store in Mount Vernon

Maria Smith, owner of Top Kitty boutique in Waverly, is opening a second location in Mount Vernon next month.

Smith will share a third floor, 300-square-foot rental at 516 N. Charles St. with Sharifah Gavins, owner of design consultancy Butterfli Affect. Top Kitty offers styling services, accessories, and clothes geared toward professional women. 

Smith and Gavins are in the process of painting and decorating the suite, located above A People United fair trade shop. The shop is located on the building’s ground level, with four stories of office space above. Smith has one intern, but no additional employees.

Smith says she believes having space in both Waverly and Mount Vernon covers many bases. Shoppers have discovered her Waverly boutique, while Mount Vernon tends to be home base for her VIP styling clients.

Smith and Gavins are still working on a name and slogan for the new location. They may go with: “House of DecoFash: Where a Butterfly Designs and a Kitty Styles.”

Smith will use the Charles Street office for Baltimore Fashion Week model calls, and for year-round one-on-one fashion consultations with clients.

Along with running Top Kitty, Smith serves as a stylist and production team member for Baltimore Fashion Week. Now in its sixth year, Fashion Week takes place Aug. 8 –11 at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Pikesville.

“Most of my clients who come to me for styling are going to be the type of woman who wants to meet with me in Mount Vernon. She’s the upwardly mobile kitty. She’s busy. She’s a professional. She’s a business owner.”

In addition to operating Top Kitty, Smith works full-time in residential and commercial property management. She says she self-financed both the Waverly and Mount Vernon locations.

Writer: Amy Landsman
Source: Maria Smith, owner Top Kitty Clothing
 

International pastry shop and cafe opens in Mount Vernon

There’s a new place in Mount Vernon for residents to pick up steamed pork buns, Cuban pastries, Turkish coffee and Paraguayan empanadas.

The Bun Shop opened last month at 239 W. Read St. Co-owner Andrew Bui says he and his business partner Minh Vo will expand the BYOB café’s offerings in the next month to include furniture, home goods and flowers since the 1,700-square-foot spot offers room to grow.

“Originally we wanted a small store front but we just found this place. It was a bakery so it had a lot of equipment that we needed that we couldn’t afford,” Bui says.

The owners also will begin selling Vietnamese spring rolls and other appetizers on the weekends starting this month. The café will host its first event with the May 17 launch party for Slight-Mag, a fashion magazine started by Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) students.

Childhood friends Bui and Bo spent about $30,000 to open the Bun Shop, using their own cash and money borrowed from family. Bui says he left a product design job in New York while Bo left his pharmacology Ph.D. program at Johns Hopkins University.

Bui says the Bun Shop has been attracting area residents, including MICA and University of Baltimore students, interested in late-night cheap eats. The Bun Shop is open until 3 a.m. 

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Andrew Bui, the Bun Shop

Hampden dog care business relocating to bigger spot

The relocation of a Hampden business gives neighborhood dogs something to bark about.
 
The nine-year-old Good Doggie Day Care will be moving from 3500 Ash St. to a larger space at 529 W. 29th St. by early July.
 
The 14,000-square-foot location gives business owner JoAnne Garrett 5,500 square feet of more space and 13 playrooms instead of six. The new space, which formerly housed the Hanover Uniform Co., has two floors with a large ramp for the dogs.
 
“The new location is much easier to get to, and it won’t crowd the dogs,” Garrett says. “Also, some of our dogs are aging, and we’ll have a place for our ‘older kids’.” The new location will have a “Senior Paws” area dedicated to older dogs.
 
Garrett employs 23 and will will hire one assistant manager, one evening assistant manager and four daycare attendants for the new location.
 
Good Doggie takes care of 50 to 100 dogs per day. Prices range from $20 for one half-day session to $28 for five full-day sessions. One-third of the customers come from the neighborhood while many also come from downtown, Garrett says.
 
Contact: JoAnne Garrett, owner of Good Doggie Day Care
Writer: Jolene Carr

Construction begins on 102-unit apartment building in downtown Baltimore

Construction began last month on a 102-unit apartment complex in the former Provident Bank building in downtown Baltimore.
 
The first apartments at 114 E. Lexington St. will be ready in September, says Laurel Howell, senior vice president of marketing for Kettler Inc. The McLean, Va., firm will manage the property. The 11-story building will house retail on the first floor, a fitness room and iPad bar in the lobby.
 
The Lenore will contain one- and two-bedroom apartments, some of them lofts, with wood floors and granite countertops. Rental rates have not been set.
 
Gaithersburg developer Baybridge Property Group is preserving features of the 1928 historic building, including floor-to-ceiling windows. The building originally opened as a local branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Provident Bank and then M&T Bank used it until a year ago.

Several other office buildings are being converted to meet demand for downtown housing. Eighteen apartments are planned above the Carrollton Bank branch at 344 N. Charles St., which was sold in April. PMC Property Group expects to finish 70 apartments at 521-545 St. Paul St. this summer and 92 at the former Baltimore Life Insurance Co. headquarters at 301 N. Charles St. this fall. Another 445 apartments are planned at 10 Light St.

The first apartments at The Lenore are expected to be ready in September, according to Laurel Howell, senior vice president of marketing for Kettler Inc., which will manage the building. Businesses have shown interest in the two retail spaces on the first floor, she said.
 
Writer:  Wayne Countryman
Source:  Laurel Howell, Kettler Inc. 

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

New art gallery and cafe coming to Highlandtown

A new art gallery, café and gift shop is coming to Highlandtown this summer that will showcase local artists in permanent and revolving art exhibits.  
 
Highlandtown Art Gallery Owner Felicia Zannino-Baker will showcase10 to 12 artists per month at the 1,000-square-foot gallery at  248 S. Conkling St., near the recently opened Baltimore Threadquarters. Baker will devote an area to slideshows of historical Highlandtown and host book signings, artist talks and workshops with local crafters making scarves, wooden puzzles, textiles, wooden puzzles, collages and handbags.
 
The gift shop will sell notecards, duffle bags, mugs and local books, including Gary Helton’s “History of Highlandtown.” Baker says she is working with the owners of Highlandtown's High Grounds Coffee Roasters to create a special blend specifically for the gallery café.
 
Baker was born and raised in Highlandtown and owns the residential and commercial design company Magnolia Studios LLC. In addition to a Washington, D.C., location, Magnolia previously had a location next to the gallery and now has a studio on Eastern Ave.
 
Baker is also a member of the Highlandtown Arts and Entertainment District advisory board. “This is a wonderful experience. Once you tap into these people, you see it’s very rich and diverse, and there’s something for everyone. It’s all different mediums: sculpture, watercolor, collage. You name it, they’re there. It’s in their hearts and in their minds.”
 
Baker owns the building that houses the gallery. The gallery will occupy the first floor while the second and third floors are residential space.
 
Writer: Jolene Carr
Source: Felicia Zannino-Baker, Highlandtown Art Gallery

Owner of Waverly's Darker Than Blue hopes to hit a homerun with new sports bar

The owner of Waverly’s popular Darker Than Blue Café is opening a neighborhood sports bar in the city’s Cedmont community, six blocks south of Northern Parkway.

Casey Jenkins’ new Birdland Sports Bar & Grill at 6319 Belair Road will open by late May. It's just one of several restaurant projects for Jenkins, who is scouting new locations for an expanded Darker Than Blue.  

Jenkins says he’s put about $100,000 into redoing what was once the Ray Charles Lounge. The 2,000-square-foot space will seat 125 and employ six.

While Darker Than Blue is an 85-seat white tablecloth establishment, Birdland will have a bright, more casual vibe. The menu will feature some Southern cuisine — Darker Than Blue’s specialty – and serve pasta and 15 types of sliders. The restaurant will be decorated with art and memorabilia that links the city’s rich sports history of the Colts and the Orioles of old, with the Ravens and Orioles of today.

“It’s gonna be a hip sports bar,” Jenkins says.

Jenkins says he hopes to repeat the recipe for success he’s had with Darker Than Blue on Greenmount Avenue with this new venture on Belair Road. That is, he’s opening a locally owned restaurant on a major thoroughfare in a neighborhood underserved by good dining options. He predicts Birdland will be the spark that brings other local businesses to the community.

Jenkins attended a community meeting to hear what neighborhood residents themselves wanted along Belair Road.

“They said they wanted someplace they could sit and go to. There are no sit-down restaurants in that corridor, and that’s extremely shocking to me, and that’s exactly what they said in the Cedmont community meeting.”

The renovations are being financed by Jenkins and two partners. Jenkins is also looking at gap financing, including micro-loans.

Birdland will feature a a full bar. The menu will showcase about 15 different types of sliders, pastas, and a variety of dishes with “Southern flair.”
 
 
Writer: Amy Landsman
Source: Casey Jenkins, owner, Darker Than Blue, Birdland Sports Bar & Grill.

Darker Than Blue owner eyes Rotunda and Charles Village project for new location

The owner of Waverly’s Darker Than Blue Café is talking to the developers of two of Baltimore City’s biggest residential and retail projects near Johns Hopkins University about relocating the popular restaurant to a bigger spot. And he’s cooking up plans for a new eatery at his current home on Greenmount Avenue.

Casey Jenkins says he is working with Artios Retail LLC, a Bel Air leasing and brokerage firm, to assist with the expansion by 2015. The business owner is looking at the Rotunda in Hampden and the lot at 32nd Street and Saint Paul Street in Charles Village as possible locations for the expanded Darker Than Blue.

“Our dream is to move to a large development,” Jenkins says, noting that a larger development will give the restaurant more visibility.

Jenkins opened the 85-seat Darker Than Blue at 3034 Greenmount Ave. seven years ago. The move will hopefully allow him to seat as many as 150 in the expanded location. The new Darker Than Blue will be more polished and upscale and have less of a mom-and-pop feel.

The restaurant will still serve Southern-inspired food, including catfish and grits and chicken and waffles. Jenkins will also continue to feature regular live jazz. A bigger restaurant will allow Jenkins to feature new items, including a rotisserie with ribs, pork and chicken. 

Virginia’s Armada Hoffler and Baltimore’s Beatty Development Group LLC are leading the redevelopment of the lot near Johns Hopkins University. Formerly a condo project called the Olmsted, it is now dubbed the St. Paul Street Project in Charles Village.

New Jersey’s Hekemian & Co. is leading the $70M Rotunda redevelopment in Hampden, slated to include a local grocer, apartments and restaurants when it is completed in summer 2015.

Meanwhile, Jenkins says he will open a new restaurant in the current Darker Than Blue location — most likely West Indian or Latin. Jenkins says he’ll probably open up the space a little more, and that the new place will be a bit more casual than Darker Than Blue. The as-yet unnamed restaurant would seat the same number of people.

Jenkins is in expansion mode. In May, he’s opening Birdland Sports Bar and Grill in Cedmont.
 
Writer: Amy Landsman
Source: Casey Jenkins, owner of Darker Than Blue and Birdland Sports Bar & Grill

Stevenson University begins $9M renovation of former pharma building for science courses

Workers are moving the final pieces of pharmaceutical equipment out of the former Shire Pharmaceuticals manufacturing building in Owings Mills, as Stevenson University gets set to transform the space into science classrooms, offices and labs.

The final cost to renovate this 160,000-square-foot space remains up in the air, but Stevenson Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Tim Campbell estimates it could be around $9 million. The revamped space will open in late 2014 or early 2015 as the new home for Stevenson’s School of the Sciences.

Stevenson purchased Shire’s 28-acre property off Crondall Lane in 2011 to accommodate its growing student body. The $10.5 million dollar purchase price netted the school two buildings – Shire’s former manufacturing plant and Shire’s former administration building —  and a 400 space parking lot adjacent to the school’s Owings Mills campus.

The $1 million renovation of the 18,000-square-foot administration building is nearly complete. It will reopen in September as the new home for Stevenson’s School of Design with three large design studios, classrooms, a sound stage, a broadcast studio, a digital imaging lab, faculty offices and a conference room. More than 200 students are expected to use the building daily.

Stevenson’s own design students and faculty had a lot of input into School of Design’s sleek, new look.

“We worked closely with them and came up with a design we feel is extremely attractive, it’s just a great building,” Campbell says.

Design students and staff also helped with the blueprints for the renovation of the former manufacturing building. Though it will be used primarily as a science facility, it also hold some overflow design classes.

The School of the Sciences and School of Design are both currently on Stevenson’s original campus in Stevenson. The Owings Mills campus, which features residence halls and a stadium, opened in 2004. Shuttle service links the two campuses, which are 6.5 miles apart.

Stevenson is known for its career-focused education, offering over two dozen degree programs ranging from criminal justice, to nursing. It has 4,212 students, about half of whom live on campus. 
 
Writer: Amy Landsman
Source: Tim Campbell, executive vice president and chief financial officer, Stevenson University 

Developer planning 25 townhomes in former Brewers Hill Natty Boh warehouse

Bel Air developer Stonington Partners is planning 25 new townhomes in a former Natty Boh warehouse in Brewers Hill.
 
Demolition of the warehouse between South Eaton and Fagley streets will begin early next year and construction on Merchant Hill homes will begin shortly thereafter. The Merchant townhomes feature an open-floor plan and industrial look.
 
The homes, with an average of 2,300 square feet and prices starting at $500,000, will be move in ready by late 2014, says ReMax Preferred Realtor Trent Waite, the agent for Merchant Hill. Waite says the development cost has not yet been determined. 
  
Merchant Hill joins two other Stonington residential developments in East Baltimore:
 
•  Merchant Point: The 17 townhomes in the 1700 block of Aliceanna Street in Fells Point will be ready at the end of August. Prices for the 2,600- to 3,200-square-foot homes start at $659,000. All homes have been sold.
 
•  Merchant Square: Work on the eight townhomes in the 100 block of South Ann Street in Fells Point will start late May and will be completed by the end of the year. Four homes are currently under contract. Prices start at $530,000, with an average square footage of 3,250.
 
While high-end rentals have been sprouting up around Fells Point and other downtown neighborhoods, like the $70 million Union Wharf apartments opening in May, buyers are “figuring out they’ve been paying $3,000 in rent when they can have $3,000 in equity,” Waite says.
 
Home prices in Baltimore City rose 26.4 percent in March, according to Metropolitan Regional Information Systems.
 
Waite says Stonington Partners has built a niche in developing custom look homes in urban neighborhoods.
 
Writer: Amy Landsman
Source: Trent Waite, Realtor, ReMax Preferred
 

Cigar and hookah lounge opens in downtown Baltimore

There’s a new place in downtown Baltimore for hookah parties.
 
Midnight Kings Lounge opened April at 318 North Charles St. next to Cazbar Turkish restaurant in a space once occupied by London’s Boutique. Co-owner Amir Shuaib says he and his cousin will ultimatley spend $400,000 to open the 1,500-square-foot business, which sells cigarettes, cigars, hookahs and tobaccos in more than 20 flavors.
 
The lounge area includes two televisions and seating for about 100. Shuaib says he’s working to get a liquor license so he can add a bar. He also hopes to serve food within the next couple of months and expand into the location’s second floor.
 
Midnight Kings offer $15 individual hookah use Sunday-Wednesday, with Thursday college night specials. 
 
“With the casinos and everything coming in, (entertainment business) seems to be popular.” Shuaib says. “And downtown is where all of the entertainment is.”
 
Shuaib and his cousin will employ two during the week and three on weekends.
 
Writer: Jolene Carr
Source: Amir Shuaib, co-owner of Midnight Kings Lounge
 

Fells Point architecture firm designing green roof for $10M Riverside Wharf project

Urban Design Group LLC  is going green for the Riverside Wharf project in South Baltimore. The sustainable architectural firm in Fells Point has designed a green roof for the building, the first project under Baltimore’s Key Highway South Urban Renewal Plan.

Urban Design Group is bringing sustainable measures to two other high-profile projects in Baltimore: the new Merchant Point townhomes in Fells Point and the renovation of the Inner Harbor's World Trade Center, which will be done this year.
 
Urban Design President Michael Burton says he expects the $10 million Riverside Wharf project to be done in 2014. Caves Valley Partners is developing the former industrial site located along Key Highway at Lawrence Street into a 100,000-square-foot, three-story building with parking garage.
 
On the main floor, Walgreens drugstore will occupy 14,000 square feet along with other retailers; the upper two floors have 31,000 square feet of office space; a parking garage accounts for the remaining space.

He says the green roof will enable the building to comply with Baltimore’s green building standards and the state’s storm water management regulations.
 
Passed by the City Council in 2007, green building standards apply to new and existing commercial and multi-family residences over 10,000 square feet.

For the almost 8,000-square-foot green roof, a layer of soil and plants that can withstand weather and wind is laid on top of a drainage system. “The building occupies an entire city block. You’ve got to find a way to deal with storm water management,” says Burton.

Merchant Point involves the conversion of a church into a private school and office space, an existing building into offices and 18 new rowhouses. Located at the intersection of South Ann and Aliceanna streets, the townhomes will be ready this summer and are sold out. Urban Design Group used sustainable construction material and created an urban garden to meet the city’s green building standards.
 
The Maryland Port Authority awarded a contract to Pepco Energy Services to install energy-efficiency measures in several buildings, including the 40-year-old, 30-story World Trade Center.
 
Urban Design Group designed a geothermal system for the building’s mechanical systems. The system pumps water from the Inner Harbor through the building’s mechanical systems. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and federal Environmental Protection Agency had to approve the design.
 
Burton founded Urban Design Group in 2009. In 2011, the company moved into the incubator, Emerging Technology Center at Canton. Last February, the company graduated from the incubator and moved to an office in Fells Point.
 
During its time in the incubator, revenue tripled to over $1 million in 2013 and the staff doubled to nine. Urban Design Group is looking to hire a project manager.
 
Source: Michael Burton, Urban Design Group
Writer: Barbara Pash; innovationnews@bmoremedia.com
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