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The construction site at 211 West Mulberry Street where the Mulberry at Park Apartments are being constructed. (The Daily Record / Maximilian Franz)

Mulberry at Park apartments construction begins

Construction on a new 68-unit affordable housing development on downtown’s West Side is underway.

Enterprise Homes celebrated the start of construction on Tuesday of $22.3 million Mulberry at Park Apartments in the Bromo Tower Arts & Entertainment District.

The building will feature 34 one-bedroom, 27 two-bedroom and seven three-bedroom units, with rents ranging from $773 to $1,155 a month. Planned amenities at the building include a cyber café, fitness center and outdoor terrace area.

“Mulberry Park provides a great new home young people can afford,” Enterprise Home President and CEO Chickie Grayson said.

The project is being financed with $15.8 million in construction loans, tax credit equity and permanent financing from Bank of America. The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development is providing $1.5 million for the project and Baltimore is contributing $870,000.

Grayson, a Baltimore native, said she remembered riding the street cars through downtown and eating at the legendary Martick’s Restaurant Francais, which was right across the street from the current development.

“I suspect we’re not the first developer to come to this spot and see an opportunity,” she said.

This is the latest project to break ground on the West Side, as the city continues to emphasize revitalizing a neighborhood that was a thriving shopping district. In recent years the Baltimore Development Corp. has been aggressive in issuing request for proposals for rundown West Side properties.

Late last month the city issued a request for proposal for 20 city-owned properties on a block bounded by Park Avenue, Howard, Mulberry and Franklin streets, and is in the Market Center National Register Historic District. The Baltimore Development Corp. estimates about 16 real estate, economic and community development projects have been completed in the area for about $112 million.

The Washington Baltimore Development Group has pitched plans to the city Urban Design and Architecture Review Panel for a 15-story mixed-use project on the East side of the 300 block of Howard Street. The city is also going through the process of developing plans to renovate the nearby historic Lexington Market.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said when she became mayor there was a sense there would never be any meaningful redevelopment on the West Side. But now, she said, ,because of the work her administration has done with groups such as the Urban Land Institute and the University of Maryland, Baltimore, the area is gaining new investment.

“You don’t start digging a hole this big if you’re doubtful about where the city is going,” Rawlings-Blake said jokingly about the start of construction of the apartments.

About Adam Bednar

Adam Bednar covers real estate and development for The Daily Record.