Minutes after wielding a pair oversized scissors to help cut a ceremonial ribbon by the entrance, Johns Hopkins University President Ron Daniels addressed a crowd gathered inside the window-lined lobby of a new amenity serving the Homewood campus and North Baltimore: The Study at Johns Hopkins, a century-old apartment building reborn as a boutique hotel.
"This is truly an exciting moment in the life of Johns Hopkins University," Daniels told a mix of university affiliates and neighborhood residents. "We're thrilled that The Study Hotel is happening. It will be a 24/7 activation of people and place, and a key amenity for Charles Village and Baltimore."
Prominently perched on the southeast corner of North Charles and East 33rd streets, The Study is directly across the street from the Homewood campus, where cranes are at work erecting the university's new student center. Daniels acknowledged the number of building projects "bringing new life and energy" to campus, then added that those projects engendered a need of their own.
"At the end of the day, we need a place for folks to stay," he said. "We need a proper place for our academic colleagues coming in to participate in a host of different events on campus to convene."
The 10-story, 115-room hotel began welcoming guests in late October. An on-site first-floor restaurant, Dear Charles, opened late last month. Billed as a "village tavern," the 85-seat eatery caters to hotel guests and the greater community, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week.
The building was erected in 1922 as the Blackstone Apartments, and the university acquired it in 2006 for student housing. Since then, nearby housing options have grown, including the more the 550-bed Nine East 33rd mixed-use development, which opened on the same block in 2016. Discussions soon shifted to how the venerable Blackstone could be redeveloped to increase the availability of high-quality accommodations for out-of-town visitors to Homewood.
Hospitality3, a New-York-City based developer and operator of hotels adjacent to university campuses, was ultimately awarded a long-term lease on the property. The Study at Johns Hopkins becomes the fourth property in its portfolio, joining Study Hotels serving Yale University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Pennsylvania.
"At Study Hotels, our goal is to become an integral part of the communities we serve," Paul McGowan, founder and president of Hospitality3, told the assembled crowd on Tuesday. "We work hard and invest resources to embrace the rich character, cultural offerings, and diverse interests of each market, while always seeking opportunities for connection. The space we are in today was designed to be transparent, allowing the vibrancy of the Charles Village community to be evident to our guests who travel here from far away."
Inside The Study Hotel
Among the local touches: making sure titles from the Johns Hopkins University Press and/or by Hopkins-affiliated authors are well represented among the books filling the lobby. The second floor offers multiple conference rooms as well as gallery space for curated showings of the work of local artists. And plans call for having regular performances by Peabody musicians, especially on the outside patio space on clement days.
"This is an extremely positive development for Charles Village and the whole of North Central Baltimore," says Sandy Sparks, a veteran neighborhood activist who chairs the North Charles Village PUD Design Review committee tasked with reviewing the hotel project. "Having this landmark corner really well-planned and with a restaurant open out onto the street is just great."
The rooms offered include a mix of standard doubles and kings as well as various larger, upgraded options culminating in a top floor presidential suite. As you move up the building, the views get better and better. Homewood campus spreads out before you, and you can see straight down Charles Street to downtown Baltimore. Hotel general manager Kathleen Dombrowski says The Study has already proved popular with one segment of university visitors: parents.
"They can stay here at the hotel and see their son or daughter's dorm right across the street," she says. "Parents definitely feel like they're on campus and in the action."