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10 Rehab/Renovation Articles | Page:

What Buffalo Can Learn From the Inner Harbor

Baltimore's Inner Harbor continues to be a shining example of what city government and private enterprise can accomplish when they come together. This Buffalo TV Station takes a look at Bmore's crowning jewel to see what they can do with their city's harbor area.

Here's an excerpt:

"Baltimore's waterfront is living it up, while Buffalo's lingers in limbo. So how come other cities can make a success of these prime pieces of property?

News 4 went to "America's Comeback City" to check it out.

"This was still all industrial pier," said Downtown Partnership of Baltimore's Mike Evitz.

From the 1970's, to today.

"It was just bare land," said President & CEO of Maryland Science Center Van Reiner.

Baltimore's Inner Harbor has a whole new look. It's no bigger in size than Buffalo's Inner Harbor and Erie Basin Marina, but more than a hundred shops and restaurants have sprouted up here in the past 30 years."

Read the entire story.


What $500K Will Buy in Baltimore

What'll $500,000 get you on Baltimore's real estate market?

Here's an excerpt:

"This building was built in 1920, and until the 1970s was the site of a Polish bakery. It was converted to a residence in the 1980s, and the latest updates, by the current owners, were done over the past 10 years. The first floor, what was once the bakery's storefront, is a living and kitchen area, with an original fireplace."

Read the entire listing.

Federal Hill couple's penthouse remodel featured as WSJ's "House of the Day"

The Chris Bohl, architect-owner of a three-level penthouse overlooking Federal Hill Park, and his wife Barbara spent six months renovating the 1980s home.

Check out the pics from the WSJ here.

East Baltimore model for humane redevelopment

When then-Mayor Martin O'Malley announced plans to redevelop a large swath of East Baltimore that would require the displacement of more than 500 families, it was met with a healthy dose of skepticism. Flash forward and the plan is being hailed as the model for other cities.

Here's an excerpt:

"The question is: Can we Americans be more sensitive than we were after World War II, when "urban renewal" forced inner-city residents - mostly black - to abandon their neighborhoods? The prime excuse then was to "eradicate blight." But the uses of the lost neighborhood land often told a different tale: flashy public projects, real estate opportunities for developers and massive freeways that plowed through low-income and minority areas.

Notwithstanding redevelopment around the Inner Harbor, much of Baltimore's inner city was a poster child for deindustrialization. It saw riots in the 1960s, a massive middle-class exodus, waves of drugs, crime, property "flippers" and slumlords.

The Casey Foundation was initially skeptical when Baltimore's mayor, now Gov. Martin O'Malley, asked for help with a $1 billion-plus plan to acquire and demolish hundreds of homes in the Middle East neighborhood, just north of the Johns Hopkins campus. The idea was to create an 88-acre community for life sciences research facilities, retail development and market-rate housing."

Read the entire op-ed here.

Baltimore's gated alleys -- community builder or breaker?

There're 600 miles of alleyways in Baltimore. Trash, rats and drug pushers frequent the majority, but a growing movement helmed by Community Green aims to help these spaces reach their true potential.

Here's an excerpt:

"In the 25 years that Mayo has lived in Baltimore's Washington Hill neighborhood, a short drive east of the city's Inner Harbor, nearby blocks succumbed to poverty and neglect. The ensuing tumult overflowed into her alley. Although she and her husband installed motion-sensor lighting and called police frequently, as did neighbors, nothing improved.

But about a year ago came the sounds of change, as artisans wielded a power drill to install graceful, wrought-iron gates at either end of the narrow passageway. It was the culmination of a 2-year effort to reclaim the troubled alley, abutted by the tiny back yards of eight rowhouses on one side and perpendicular to a single rowhouse on the other."
 
Read the entire article here.


City officials press on with new arts district

The New York Times takes a look at the city's arts districts and its plan to create a third arts district on the Baltimore's westside. The paper of record doesn't draw any conclusions but presents both sides of the debate.

Here's an excerpt

"The idea for a west side arts district has been around at least since the administration of Kurt L. Schmoke, Baltimore's mayor from 1987 to 1999. Over the years, the city took steps to improve the area, though without official arts district designation.

One step was to turn the old Hippodrome Theater at 12 North Eutaw Street into the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center, which opened in 2003. Another was converting the century-old Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower, at 21 South Eutaw Street, which was modeled on the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, into artists' studios.

Mr. Schmoke, now dean of the Howard University School of Law in Washington, said that while he had not seen specific plans for the new arts district, he supported the idea generally."

Read the entire article here.


City plans third arts district in West Baltimore

Last week, The Baltimore Sun ran a couple of pieces on the city's proposal to create a so-called arts district in West Baltimore.

Here's an excerpt from articles for and against the project:

"City officials backed by Mayor Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake are to be applauded for moving ahead with plans to create a new arts and entertainment district on Baltimore's West Side near downtown. The area has been pegged for redevelopment as a cultural hub for more than a decade, but the pace of change has been disappointing. Anything that helps jump-start the process is all to the good.

One might well ask why the area even needs a formal designation as an arts and entertainment district, given the ambitious renovation of the Hippodrome Theatre (which re-opened on the west side in 2003) and the imminent arrival there of the Everyman Theatre Company. Isn't it already on a path to becoming the cultural magnet its backers originally envisioned?"

Read the entire article here.

"A proposal endorsed by Mayor Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake would make the city's west side into an arts district, which the administration hopes will help turn around the ailing neighborhood.

This is not the solution. Why? Baltimore already has two arts districts -- Highlandtown/Patterson Park and Station North. It doesn't need a third.

The city declared Highlandtown/Patterson Park an arts district in 2003. That same year, the Creative Alliance at the Patterson (pictured), a mixed use arts/performance space, opened. Offering art exhibits and cutting edge performances, the Creative Alliance was supposed to be the cultural anchor for an arts renaissance in Highlandtown.

Nearly seven years later, Highlandtown/Patterson Park hasn't seen a sliver of the artistic explosion and revitalization that was supposed to happen. Aside from the Creative Alliance and the Southeast Anchor Library, Highlandtown/Patterson Park doesn't have much more in the way of arts than it did in 2003."

Read the entire post here. And now tell us what you think...



A designer's view of Charm City

In its March 2010 issue, Elle Decor magazine finally catches on to what residents of Baltimore already knew...that Charm City is a really cool place to visit and live.

Here's an excerpt:

"Baltimore, affectionately called "Charm City" by natives, is living up to its nickname. This Mid-Atlantic port is no longer merely a convenient, if undistinguished, stopover for devouring crab cakes and catching a game at Camden Yards en route to Washington, D.C., or New York.

Seafood and sports are still a draw, but today Baltimore hums with energy, boasting downtown towers, a burgeoning harbor, a vibrant cultural scene, and hip restaurants. Empty mills and factories, the run-down remnants of the city's industrial heritage, have been recast as commercial and residential spaces, often with stunning period details restored. A new generation of talented designers and artists, lured by the city's affordability and neighborliness, is beginning to convert ragged areas into artsy pockets with catchy names like Station North and Highlandtown. Even the iconic crab cake has been spiced up by chefs eager to experiment with Chesapeake traditions."

Read the entire article here. Check out the slideshow here.


Designers bring taste of Paris to Homeland with home remodel

Don't judge a book by its cover...and in this instance don't judge a home by its seemingly modest facade, especially when two designers pull out all the stops to remodel their own home.

Here's an excerpt:

"You may not realize how close you are to Paris. You are, in fact, only as a far away as a modest cottage in Homeland. Well, "modest" isn't really the right word, because from the moment you set foot in the black and white diamond-pattern tile foyer, you'll understand that this home is anything but modest.

Dan Proctor and Jeffrey Hess purchased the home, their third purchase together, in pursuit of a design style that they had never tried before. Both designers by trade, they knew what they wanted, and were intent on achieving it. Here is their finished product."

Read the entire article here.


City gets kudos for not using replacement windows in rehabs

On its blog, Preservation Nation, The National Trust for Historic Preservation, has singled out Baltimore's $15 million weatherization program as a good use of federal stimulus funds citing the city's decision to use the money for everything but replacement windows.

Here's an excerpt:

There's encouraging news for advocates of historic windows, energy efficiency, and sustainability from the City of Baltimore. The city is helping qualified residents with high utility bills save on energy through a federally funded weatherization program. Baltimore projects that the $15 million in weatherization funds will help 700 families per year lower their monthly energy bills. The program provides energy audits as well as building improvements such as fixing malfunctioning furnace and water heaters and adding insulation to areas where energy is commonly lost like attics. Baltimore's program is using stimulus dollars to support preservation objectives, create jobs and save energy — a central message of the ongoing Perfect Storm effort .

Importantly… what the program will not do is use the funds for replacement windows. The city has found the energy saving benefits of replacement windows to be misleading. Michael A. Lafferty, a city Department of Housing and Community Development buildings superintendent, says, "It takes 90 years on average to pay back the cost of a replacement window."

Read more here.

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