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Old 02-07-2011, 03:41 PM
 
9,830 posts, read 11,391,034 times
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My family owns a row home in east Baltimore near Edison Hwy. The street our row house is on is kept very nice because it is mainly older people who own their homes and have kept up their grass and the outside of their homes for decades. I grew up right outside Washington D.C. but my dad is from Baltimore city and we still own my grandmothers row house. When my grandmother died, my mom moved into the house so we didn't have to sell it.

We have been talking about property value lately and my question is, why has Baltimore not begun to knock down row houses and build high or low rise buildings in place of the empty row houses to increase density and economic development? I don't know if the city allows this based on zoning but they need to look into it. I can't believe Baltimore is not doing this in some neighborhoods. The entire area from Edison Hwy to I-83 and from from Baltimore St. to North Ave. could be gentrified into nice intertwining neighborhoods of high rises, low rises, and row homes.

Property values would skyrocket in east baltimore and the economic development in the area would be amazing. It would also create a seamless transition from downtown connecting to a bustling neighborhood which doesn't exist now in many places in the city. When I come to see my mom and look at the difference in gentrification from D.C. to Baltimore, I see a great opportunity for Baltimore to reinvent themselves with low rise and high rise buildings all over the city replacing vacant row houses. The increased density would be the driving force for the neighborhoods.
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Old 02-07-2011, 03:54 PM
 
Location: Cumberland
4,918 posts, read 8,026,974 times
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Who would pay to build them? Who would move there? The city has been losing population for decades. It would make more sense to reduce the housing stock and thus eliminate blight then build high rises where there is no demand.

Another thing to consider is the architectual continuity of the neighborhoods you are mentioning. I know your vision, as you mention frequently with Gaithersburg, is this mixed bag of high rises, low rises, shops, etc., but in building them you destroy the history, character, and sense of "place" that make locales special.

The 'burbs of DC don't have much architectual history or character, nor are there many decendants of the original inhabitants still around. It makes some sense in these places to play "Sim City" and use the "bulldozer function" to level structures and rebuild. Baltimore isn't like that. It still has a sense of "place" and history that is long gone in the 'burbs of DC.

There is plenty of cookie cutter America, why make more?
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Old 02-07-2011, 05:18 PM
 
9,830 posts, read 11,391,034 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by westsideboy View Post
Who would pay to build them? Who would move there? The city has been losing population for decades. It would make more sense to reduce the housing stock and thus eliminate blight then build high rises where there is no demand.

Another thing to consider is the architectual continuity of the neighborhoods you are mentioning. I know your vision, as you mention frequently with Gaithersburg, is this mixed bag of high rises, low rises, shops, etc., but in building them you destroy the history, character, and sense of "place" that make locales special.

The 'burbs of DC don't have much architectual history or character, nor are there many decendants of the original inhabitants still around. It makes some sense in these places to play "Sim City" and use the "bulldozer function" to level structures and rebuild. Baltimore isn't like that. It still has a sense of "place" and history that is long gone in the 'burbs of DC.

There is plenty of cookie cutter America, why make more?

Actually, I was referring to Washington D.C. which has high rises as far as the eye can see now with more on the way. I don't know the last time you visited D.C. but it is starting to look like a short Manhattan on street level. It's amazing where D.C. is headed and I think Baltimore should try to follow suit.
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Old 02-07-2011, 07:57 PM
 
Location: Cumberland
4,918 posts, read 8,026,974 times
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So, what happened to the DC neighborhoods in the way of the highrises? I guess they got leveled and the residents pushed out to PG.

Either way, the demand for the new housing stock needs to be there before anything of that scope will be built. And I don't think there is much pent up demand for housing in Baltimore City. If anything, there is too much housing stock and it is leading to blight.
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Old 02-08-2011, 06:41 AM
 
Location: Baltimore
1,759 posts, read 4,405,958 times
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Well you also have to figure that even vacant, investors can still own them unless it's a scope property. I agree with the second post. I'd rather see vacant housing removed to decrease the surplus and use the land to create new parks and what not.
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Old 02-08-2011, 07:13 AM
 
Location: Baltimore
158 posts, read 337,494 times
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I live in DC, and a lot of the new buildings were built/are being built on disused industrial-type lots on the edges of downtown, or lots in the middle of the city (H and 10th NW for example) that were vacant/parking lots to begin with. There really hasn't been a lot of bulldozing of vacant rowhomes b/c honestly, there just aren't a lot of vacants in DC.

I don't know as much about Baltimore, but with a shrinking population, I'm not sure it makes sense to build more big buildings. Where would the tenants come from? With the new state center development plan the exisiting downtown building owners are already throwing a fit - - their existing buildings aren't even filled. Perhaps if the property tax gets lowered and people really do start moving back into the city, I could see that being more realistic... Until then the blocks of vacants will continue to house squatters and will continue to disintegrate... Sad.
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Old 02-08-2011, 09:56 AM
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690 posts, read 1,630,477 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MDAllstar View Post
My family owns a row home in east Baltimore near Edison Hwy. The street our row house is on is kept very nice because it is mainly older people who own their homes and have kept up their grass and the outside of their homes for decades. I grew up right outside Washington D.C. but my dad is from Baltimore city and we still own my grandmothers row house. When my grandmother died, my mom moved into the house so we didn't have to sell it.

We have been talking about property value lately and my question is, why has Baltimore not begun to knock down row houses and build high or low rise buildings in place of the empty row houses to increase density and economic development? I don't know if the city allows this based on zoning but they need to look into it. I can't believe Baltimore is not doing this in some neighborhoods. The entire area from Edison Hwy to I-83 and from from Baltimore St. to North Ave. could be gentrified into nice intertwining neighborhoods of high rises, low rises, and row homes.

Property values would skyrocket in east baltimore and the economic development in the area would be amazing. It would also create a seamless transition from downtown connecting to a bustling neighborhood which doesn't exist now in many places in the city. When I come to see my mom and look at the difference in gentrification from D.C. to Baltimore, I see a great opportunity for Baltimore to reinvent themselves with low rise and high rise buildings all over the city replacing vacant row houses. The increased density would be the driving force for the neighborhoods.
It'd probably cost the city 10-20k to raze 1 vacant building. in most cases that's more than the actual property is worth. it's more beneficial for the city to leave them as is with the hopes that some developer will raze them rather than spending money to have them razed and have vacant lots just sitting. baltimore probably has close to 10k vacant/abandoned dwellings. you can figure out the math on that pretty easily. that's a whole lot of 0's just to clear some land. that doesn't even begin to deal with all the legal crap the city would have to go through to condemn or take possession of those properties they'd have to raze. meaning, you can have a block of 10 abandoned row homes and have 1 home on that block with someone living there. can't raze the entire block and leave just 1 rowhome standing...so the city would have to pay 75k + relocation costs for that 1 family in order to raze that 1 block. add that onto the cost of this thing. see where i'm going. it seems so simplistic. lets tear down all the old ugly abandoned buildings and rebuild something shiny and new. believe me, if it were that simple it'd be done by now.
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Old 02-08-2011, 10:33 AM
 
5,869 posts, read 7,700,210 times
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What do you think the % is of the abandoned houses that are owned by the city vs. still actually owned by a person? I know I saw somewhere say you know it's owned by the city if instead of just boarded up windows they actually have bricks on there, but I feel like I don't always see a ton of them so maybe they own more than just those. But as you said it probably would be best for an investor to buy them, but in order to do that they'd probably need the whole block they want to buy be owned by the city, which probably isn't likely. And even if they were able to find one that is, you'd probably be surrounded by ones that aren't and would remain as is. You can't just go in and tear down blocks upon blocks of homes. Maybe it's possible to do it one block at a time, but as westsideboy mentioned, even if you're able to replace one block with something nice, it'll be tough to find people who want to live surrounded by all of the remaining abandoned houses.
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Old 02-08-2011, 11:32 AM
 
Location: Baltimore
158 posts, read 337,494 times
Reputation: 56
16,000 vacant houses, of which 25% are city-owned (from Baltimore City News & Press Releases)
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Old 02-08-2011, 12:53 PM
 
201 posts, read 519,478 times
Reputation: 59
It has to work its way out from already gentrified areas. Look how Federal Hill has expanded beyond its true borders. You hit issues when there are housing projects in the way, for example Perkins Homes near Little Italy. If you look at the East Baltimore Development Inititive, just North of Hopkins Hospital, they're trying to do what you are proposing. Tore down a bunch of vacate and occupied home to create low and high rises. Very mixed results right now. This is moving mountains, not just "why don't they just do it because it makes sense". Urban development is a very interesting topic to me, but ignored by about 90% of the US population.
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