A Mixed-Use Destination
This new apartment building creates much-needed workforce housing at a former industrial site. Nestled between Coppin State University and a residential neighborhood, the building provides both affordable housing and retail space in a disinvested area.
Based on our master plan for the five-acre site, the new building is the first phase of redevelopment. It offers 65 units of one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments intended for young families. Ground-floor retail lining North Avenue serves the neighborhood and the University. A branch bank has already opened in a corner space, and a food hall housing several small businesses is planned. Future work on the site will adapt two historic industrial buildings into residences and arts spaces to create a vibrant mixed-use destination.
We want to preserve a retail presence on North Avenue. We want to become a destination.
An Industrial Past
Walbrook Mill & Lumber Company provided the Baltimore area with building materials since it’s opening in 1909. Taking advantage of the adjacent railroad tracks, the sawmill was constructed in 1918. From weekend renovators to large general contractors, builders from all over the city made their way to the neighborhood for supplies. Following general disinvestment in the community in the late 20th century, the lumber mill moved out to the suburbs leaving the buildings to decay and reducing traffic that supported corner stores and other small businesses.
The Baltimore Uprising of 2015 put a spotlight on the urgency of need to support Baltimore neighborhoods. Working with our development partner and the community, we developed a master plan for the Walbrook site and a design for the first phase of the mixed-use building. The Coppin Heights Development Corporation, Coppin State University, local churches and other community stakeholders engaged with us through the process. For the building design we integrated community insight on materials, colors, and design of common spaces. Stakeholders joined us as partners at City design review and approval meetings.
Focused on Families
Prospective residents told us they were looking for family-friendly amenities. We created a dedicated classroom where tutors help students with their homework. A multipurpose room with a teaching kitchen hosts workshops and events. A second-floor lounge overlooks the playground.
The design takes advantage of a tight thermal envelope to support energy efficient heat pumps. Energy Star appliances and windows contribute to overall efficiency. Roof-mounted solar panels that provide power to public spaces further cut the building’s energy costs. Integrated rain garden planting beds use no irrigation and feature native plants. Large windows facilitate indoor/outdoor connections that benefit the residents and neighborhood.