Steven Bloom, operating partner of PMC Property Group in Baltimore, said his company has decided to develop 175 apartments in a handful of formerly city-owned buildings near the intersection of Calvert and Lombard streets.
The company initially planned to build anywhere between 140 and 185 units, and briefly considered demolishing the properties, Bloom said — but it quickly became obvious it was more feasible to keep the buildings.
“The historic trust … would love to save the buildings, and the more we thought about it, and looked through the buildings, it made much more sense economically to keep the buildings, and still have a great project,” Bloom said.
PMC Properties has specialized in adaptive reuses of older buildings in Baltimore. Previous projects include renovated buildings at 521 St. Paul, 301 N. Charles and 1201 N. Charles streets.
The new project, which includes buildings located between 30-36 S. Calvert St., will also include about 6,000 square feet of retail. Bloom said he is working with the Baltimore Development Corp. and the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore Inc. to attract a retailer to the location.
Because the project involves renovating buildings downtown as market-rate apartments, they will be eligible for a 15-year tax credit. The credit provides a 100 percent break in taxes associated with real property improvements for the first two-years. The tax credit is slowly phased out and the developer receives a 20 percent credit during the final three years.
“To save those old buildings that do have character, the way we do it, I think makes everybody happy,” Bloom said.
Because the buildings had been vacant for so long — in some cases, 20 years — Bloom said they did have some issues with squatters living in the properties. But he said he’s excited about the possibilities once a retailer opens and 250 tenants are living there.
In March, the city, which had purchased the properties during the late 1990s and early 2000s, agreed to sell the buildings to PMC Property Group for $2.2 million. PMC Property Group initially approached the Baltimore Development Corp. about the properties in August 20112. The BDC then released a request for proposal on the properties and PMC was the only entity to submit a proposal.
At the time the sale was announced, a spokeswoman for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake wrote in an email that the sale was part of the plan to grow the city by 10,000 families, in part by providing desirable market-rate apartments downtown.