(Photo via twitter.com/bmorehcd)
What was once a blighted area of Northeast Baltimore is now planned to become an “eco-village.”
Coldstream Homestead Montebello’s Tivoly Triangle area is home to the eight-acre redevelopment site. When it’s complete, officials said on Friday, it will be the city’s first “net zero” homeownership community.
Mark James, who is president of development firm Urban Green, LLC, said net zero was a term to know: It means that the homes generate 100% of the energy they consume by using renewable sources, such as solar panels. Along with the community, James said concern for the planet was a key factor in the team’s plans.
“We know that today we have enough technology to build homes that generate 100% of their own energy,” James said.
On Friday, officials gathered to announce that Leon N. Weiner and Associates of Wilmington, Delaware, will serve as lead developer on the project. Columbia-based Urban Green, LLC, will serve as co-developer and minority equity partner. It was a milestone in a years-long process.
“Revitalizing this community has been a long-time priority for the city and is an essential
component as we continue to redevelop Northeast Baltimore,” said Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young.
The project will have 79 homes, including 59 duplexes and 20 single-family homes. They’ll be made by Blueprint Robotics, a Baltimore-based firm headquartered on Broening Highway that uses robotics to manufacture the framing. Developers are also partnering with Power 52 and Civic Works to offer solar energy job training at the site.
According to the city, prices for duplex units will range from $250,000 to $260,000, will single-family units are estimated to sell for $280,000-$290,000.
The homes will also have solar and heating systems that will generate electricity and hot water. EDGE Energy is the solar provider, according to James.
“We’re going to have new development in a neighborhood that is no longer forgotten,” said City Council President Brandon Scott.
Speakers also talked of proximity to some of the city’s best high schools and Morgan State University, and a new high school and playing field being constructed nearby.
These new plans mark a turnaround for the area. Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, who represents the area, said the event represented the redevelopment effort talked about how residents left over the years due to drugs and crime in the area.
“This was among the most blighted spots in the City of Baltimore,” said Michael Braverman, Baltimore’s housing and community development commissioner. “It was difficult for this community to maintain property values, to attract new residents, and to be the community it aspired to be with this block in the condition it was.”
It was also a long path. The speakers credited Mark Washington, executive director of the Coldstream Homestead Montebello Corporation, with advocacy. One noted that he’s worked with five mayors on the project. Demolition happened over a period of years, as shown in a Baltimore Sun report from 2011 that talks about the work to remove vacant houses in the area. Later, homes were demolished following funding from Project CORE, a demolition program launched under Gov. Larry Hogan.
Now, the community will work with the developers who were announced on Friday.
“You’re going to have to get used to seeing people that aren’t from your neighborhood,” James said. “They’re coming. Why? Because you offer something great, which is a great place to live. You’re offering something great something great which is the great people that live here.”
James said the developers are also interested in getting feedback from the community. Three community charettes are being planned where residents can meet.-30-
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