WASHINGTON, D.C.– The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) today announced the East Baltimore Historic II project as the recipient of the inaugural ACHP/HUD Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation. The award recognizes developers, organizations and agencies for their success in advancing the goals of historic preservation, while at the same time providing affordable housing and/or expanded economic opportunities for low- and moderate-income families and individuals.
TRF Development Partners’ renovation of the East Baltimore Historic II community combines historic preservation, community development and affordable housing within a stressed and disinvested housing market. The project transformed an entire neighborhood block, spurring additional rehabilitation activity nearby.
“This is a great example of the power that comes from a public-private collaboration, not just to rehab a few homes, but an entire neighborhood,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “This project serves as a model of how to rebuild our aging infrastructure in cities, and I’m proud to partner with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation to recognize the East Baltimore Historic II project. It’s not only honoring the historic character of Charm City, but also offering new economic opportunities to families.”
“East Baltimore Historic II exemplifies the ACHP’s recommendations for best practices in community revitalization,” said ACHP Chairman Milford Wayne Donaldson, FAIA. “With this project, historic tax credits were used to promote the principles of smart growth and sustainability, while at the same time preserving local historic assets.”
The project emerged from a larger redevelopment plan for East Baltimore created by TRF and BUILD, a community partner that includes more than 20,000 residents. Their joint plan followed two planning efforts, begun in 2004, in partnership with the City of Baltimore and the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. The plan called for homeownership and rental redevelopment production to achieve the quickest possible sustainable reoccupancy of long-vacant units in the Broadway East and Oliver neighborhoods of Baltimore, with minimal use of public subsidy.
From late 2014 through early 2016, TRF fully rehabilitated 32 vacant rowhouses and two mixed-use buildings on two city blocks. The resulting housing units are income-restricted and affordable to people earning 50 to 80 percent of the Area Median Income.
East Baltimore Historic II was also developed so as to make use of federal historic tax credits, and therefore the design and scope of work for all properties were submitted to the Maryland Historical Trust and National Park Service for review. Each rehabilitation was thoroughly documented prior to the work, and each house retained the historic footprint and existing fenestration patterns; retained or carefully replicated existing historic features; and, where appropriate, alterations were approved. The result is that the two-block renovation still retains the character of the historic district.
HUD funding allowed TRF to provide the neighborhood and its residents with a neighborhood coffee shop, CUPs Coffeehouse and Café, which in turn has enabled a workforce development program for at-risk teens and young adults. The availability of HUD funds allowed the retail space to achieve a basic commercial buildout without carrying any permanent debt.