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$30M Mount Vernon apartments approved

Renderings of 500 Park Avenue. At top, an older rendering; below, a newer one. (renderings submitted by Alexander Design Studio)

Renderings of 500 Park Avenue. At top, an older rendering; below, a newer one. (renderings submitted by Alexander Design Studio)

Time Group Real Estate Investment’s proposed $30 million apartment building in Mount Vernon is on course to break ground this spring.

Baltimore’s Urban Design and Architecture Review Panel gave its final approval for the building with a vanishing edge swimming pool above a 3,500-square-foot commercial space on Thursday. The project will consist of 153 units with a mix of studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units.

Time Group Real Estate Investment’s Development Director Dominic Wiker said the building is set to break ground in April, and that the building should be ready for occupancy in the spring 2017. The firm also completed 520 Park Ave. across an alley to the north of where 500 Park Ave. will be built. The projects will share the swimming area via an elevated walkway connecting the developments.

The 170-unit project at 520 Park Ave., with one-bedroom apartments renting for between $1,300 and $1,400 a month, was 100 percent leased about six months after the building was completed in June of 2014.  This spring there was a waiting list of 50 people for an apartment at the building.

Charles Alexander, principal of architecture firm Alexander Design Studio, said that the projects have continued to push the success of the Mount Vernon west, and that it’s hoped the projects will serve as kind of a bridge toward downtown’s West Side, which the city and the University of Maryland, Baltimore are trying to redevelop.

Members of the design review panel praised the project and the changes made to the building since it was first presented in May. At the time, 500 Park Ave., which still has a very modern design, was accused by panelist Richard Burns of being “different for being different.” He even joked that Alexander accidentally discovered deconstructionism and compared its design to a hotel.

Several months later the gray and black tiling, poorly defined interior courtyard and bold vertical signage are gone. In its place are warmer colors, a fully defined interior courtyard and a lighter bridge connecting the properties.

Still, there was some criticism from panelists regarding the building’s design.

“My personal opinion is you have a little too much solid and not enough glass,” Haresign said.

But Burns, the original schematic’s toughest critic, praised the evolution of the project. He called the design more “honest” and said it better reflected the surrounding community.

“I think the changes are really quite good,” he said.


About Adam Bednar

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