An affordable housing development is planned for a section of land near where a standoff between police and students touched off the April 2015 riots.
Enterprise Homes has proposed building a 70-apartment Metro Heights development where Liberty Heights Avenue and Reisterstown Road converge across from the Mondawmin Mall. The development will include a mix of unites with one, two and three bedrooms.
The apartments will serve non-elderly disabled residents and people who have previously struggled with homelessness. The project will also provide a limited number of market rate units.
Ron Wilson, Enterprise’s chief development officer, touted the project’s location near a plethora of mass transit options including the Mondawmin Metro stop. He said the developer is working with the city on acquiring the 12 lots and three buildings on the proposed development site.
Ned Howe, Enterprise’s vice president of new business, said his firm wants to break ground on the development by next spring and deliver the building about a year later. He declined to discuss how much the project will cost to build.
Members of the Urban Design and Architecture Review Panel, which reviews the design of projects in the city, Thursday had a few quibbles about minor design feature of the building. They were primarily concerned about the presentation of the project at the corner of the property where Liberty Heights Avenue and Reisterstown Road converge.
But overall the panelists praised the proposal for aiming to help an underserved segment of Baltimore’s population.
“It is a [cross] section of our community as a whole, and it’s lovely,” David Rubin, a panelist and registered landscape architect, said.
Panelist and registered architect Gary Bowden also praised the project for taking on a corner in West Baltimore that can be problematic.
“Usually the corner is pretty much a mess,” Bowden said.
News footage of that area of the city was broadcast throughout the world as riots there erupted following the funeral of Freddie Gray, who died from injuries suffered in police custody.
In what was considered by many to be the spark that touched off the riots, Baltimore public school students were stranded at the Metro station that serves as a hub for Maryland Transit Administration buses after public transit in the city was shut down.
Police, citing posts on social media calling for unrest, surrounded the students. Eventually students tossed rocks at the police and a running skirmish ensued, which touched off wider rioting and looting throughout the city.