The Hamilton and Lauraville neighborhoods in Northeast Baltimore is known for its eclectic residents and top-notch restaurants.
But soon, it could be known as a place to shop some community leaders succeed in their vision of turning an old firehouse into a launch-pad for budding store owners.
Hamilton-Lauraville Main Street
purchased the old Hamilton Volunteer Firehouse at 3015 Hamilton Ave. last month for $65,000, says Regina Lansigner, director of Hamilton-Lauraville Main Street.
The organization plans to renovate the 3,250 square-foot building and use the first floor storefront as a business incubator. Business mentoring services will be provided to prospective entrepreneurs, and the main street association will help businesses move into a new storefront location in the community.
The first floor of the building will be used as a retail business incubator and office space will occupy the second floor.
The building was recently hit by a car and suffered some structural damage, and Lansigner says renovations and the budget for the project are on hold until the repair estimates are received. The organization hopes to raise renovation funds through events, donations, and grants.
"Those who are aware of our plans to incubate business are excited that we might be able to fill some of our small storefronts with the type of retail that will be useful to the residents. We need clothing, shoes, and housewares," Lansinger says.
Lansigner says a business incubator concept has been in the works in Hamilton for several years. The neighborhood farmer's market has been used as an incubator in the past.
The incubator should be open by next spring, Lansigner says.
Money to purchase the building was raised through appeals to board members, business owners, and neighbors who loaned money to the organization, Lansigner says.
Baltimore Main Streets
are a part of the Baltimore Development Corp
. and work to revitalize neighborhoods
through promoting small businesses in communities across the city.
Source: Regina Lansigner, director of Hamilton-Lauraville Main Street.
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, Alexandra@bmoremedia.com