New East Baltimore housing options on tap

Image caption: Future residents of Broadway East Historic Homes’ newly rehabilitated houses will have a choice of renting, buying, or renting to own.

East Baltimore Development Inc.'s next residential phase will offer an affordable path to homeownership in one of the city's up-and-coming neighborhoods.

A rent-to-own option will be available at Broadway East Historic Homes, where a mix of 36 rental units and 12 for-sale residences will be ready for occupancy in fall 2015.

This alternative-financing concept is new to EBDI and is available because the nonprofit developers—TRF Development Partners and Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development, or BUILD—are pursuing federal historic tax credits to offset construction costs, says Andrew B. Frank, special adviser to Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels on economic development.

"We are fortunate that TRF/BUILD has elected to deploy its creative and financial resources in EBDI," Frank says. "TRF looks for development opportunities where there is an underlying market strength and strong community partners. That EBDI has met that test is a sign of real progress."

The development is located in the 1200 block of Broadway on the north and south sides of the 1700 block of Preston Street. It will largely complete the revitalization of those blocks, with additional units located in the 1200 block of Gay Street.

The developers have rehabilitated more than 100 homes, fully restoring them to the historic preservation standards often found in Federal Hill, Canton, and Fells Point. Over 100 additional units are planned in phases over the next three years.

For Johns Hopkins University and Health System employees, the for-sale units are eligible for $36,000 in grants toward down payment and closing costs through the Live Near Your Work program. The homes are also within the priority one enrollment zone for the Henderson-Hopkins School. The city's historic property tax credit freezes real estate taxes (except for appreciation) at pre-rehab levels for 10 years.

Known for fusing historic amenities with contemporary and spacious interiors, TRF makes real estate investments that reinforce community assets, revitalize downward markets, and create suitable environments for market growth by partnering with neighborhood organizations, local governments, and private developers in the mid-Atlantic.

Founded in 1977, BUILD is a broad-based organization of 50 congregations, schools, and associations that work together to improve housing, increase job opportunities, and rebuild neighborhoods and schools in Baltimore. TRF/BUILD board member Rev. Calvin Keene says that the new development will be instrumental to the rebuilding of East Baltimore.

"Broadway East Historic Homes will provide opportunities for longtime residents to continue to live in the neighborhood, and for others to choose to move there," Keene says. "BUILD and TRF Development Partners are honored to work with the community and EBDI to help this vision come to reality."

The rental units are not income-restricted, but they will be priced affordably for individuals and families earning 80 percent of the area's median income. Because the development is being financed with federal historic tax credits, tenants interested in the rent-to-own option will be required to rent for a minimum of five years before buying. Those interested in leasing with an option to purchase can call Kristie Diggs at 410-276-2207.