Construction Moving Along at 1201 South Charles

| March 18, 2015 | 1 Comments

If you have passed through Federal Hill recently, you probably noticed a tall structure adjacent to Ropewalk Tavern growing out of the ground. That construction site is the future home of 1201 South Charles, a new mixed-use building developed by Glenbrook Properties. The development will include 16 two-bedroom luxury apartments, a 1,200 sq. ft. retail space, and a nine-car parking garage that is accessible from West St.

The Charles St. site was formerly the home of the Lutheran Mission Society of Maryland building and an attached parking lot, which were demolished to make way for the new project. The site has been eyed for multiple development proposals over the years including a plan for a eight- to nine-story boutique hotel. Mike Abrams, a partner with Glenbrook Properties, said the zoning board joked about how many times they have seen plans for this property.

Abrams told SouthBMore.com that previous developers faced many challenges with the site. These challenges include a small building footprint, very tight access to the site, and extra safety precautions needed during construction because of its location at a high-traffic corner.

The proposal for 1201 South Charles was first introduced in late 2012. It received zoning approval in 2013 and construction began in late summer of 2014. The structure of the five-story building is nearing completion and exterior brick and windows will be added soon.

Glenbrook experienced challenges working on the foundation of the building and enduring the coldest February on record, but framing of the structure building has gone quite fast according to Abrams. He credited this to using pre-assembled wood framing, which they used because of the tight constraints of the property.

The building was designed by Urban Design Group, which also worked on Merchant Homes, a line of high-end townhomes in Fells Point, Upper Fells Point and Brewers Hill. 1201 South Charles will have many similar design features of Merchant Homes, including a dark brick exterior, large industrial style windows and metal accents.

Abrams described the units at 1201 South Charles as “above average” in size, noting they will range from 1,000 to 1,600 sq. ft. and include features such as dual sinks in bathrooms and large windows that will let in a lot of natural light. Abrams said the apartments will be designed to fit the needs of millennials, families and empty nesters. “We’ve met many existing residents in the area who have expressed an interest for larger homes with a one-story layout, different from the many rowhomes in the area,” said Abrams.

With the zoning classification at 1201 South Charles, the project was only required one parking space for every two apartments, which the project meets, but Abrams knows that the project will likely attract more than nine cars. “We are actively working with land owners to lease space for our extra cars and we are also on the waiting list for the West Street Garage,” said Abrams. “In studying other apartment buildings in the area, we have seen the percentage of tenants without cars is in the range of 25-45%.”

Tenants at 1201 South Charles will not be eligible for area residential parking permits.

As for the 1200 sq. ft. retail space, Abrams told SouthBMore.com that they have received a lot of interest, but want to take their time to make sure they make the right selection for the community. The retail space features 17 ft. ceilings.

With many apartment projects in planning or under construction in Baltimore, Abrams was not worried about how they may effect the project. “It is critical to have a good product in a good location,” said Abrams. “I think 1201 South Charles raises the bar for new projects in Federal Hill.”

“There has yet to be any overbuilding. Baltimore has done quite well over the last few years as opposed to the Washington, DC area where there is currently an over supply of apartment units,” said Abrams. He also noted that a certain percentage of the proposed projects will likely never come to fruition.

“I truly believe there is a movement back into the city and I think it is a great story for Baltimore,” said Abrams.

Abrams believes Stadium Square, located just a few blocks from 1201 South Charles, is a critical project for the area as it will add density that will benefit area retail businesses.

1201 South Charles is expected to open around July 1st. Glenbrook will launch the website for 1201 South Charles and begin marketing the apartments in early April.

1201 S Charles Street.Rendering

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About the Author:

Creator of SouthBmore.com and resident of SoBo. Graduate of Towson University and owner of Incept Multimedia, a full service video production company. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, beach volleyball enthusiast, dog lover and "bar food" foodie. Email me at Kevin@InceptMM.com and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
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  • Joe Boto

    How did a 16 unit apartment building get approved with only 9 garage parking spaces. This is foolish and unreasonable!