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By: Ed Gunts
A $75 million plan to convert Baltimore’s Hendler Creamery to apartments and retail space cleared a key hurdle last week when a city preservation panel approved the design.
Baltimore’s Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation approved plans to convert the former ice cream plant at 1100 E. Baltimore Street in Jonestown to 296 apartments, 218 parking spaces and 20,000 square feet of commercial space.
The development team, Hendler Creamery Development LLC, is headed by Kevin Johnson of Commercial Development. Design Collective is the architect, with Nick Mansberger as the principal in charge. The project is called Hendler Creamery.
Johnson said his team aims to begin construction in June and open the development by the third quarter of 2019. He told the commissioners he is grateful for their approval.
“We have worked …diligently to save the fabric of the building,” he told the panelists after they voted. “I really am moved by your support.”
The Baltimore Street building was designed by Jackson Gott and others. The oldest portion dates from the 1890s, and is considered America’s first fully automated ice cream plant. It later became a power station, but has been dormant for many years.
Commission approval was required because the property is in the Jonestown Historic District. The design calls for retaining the shell of the original building on Baltimore Street, with new openings to accommodate street-level retail space and other changes. Much of the plant’s interior will be gutted and rebuilt to contain residences, parking and commercial space. The approach was described as creating a building within a building.
A gray stone building on the north side of the property, visible from Orleans Street and damaged by a series of fires, will be torn down to make way for new construction.
Several of the commissioners expressed strong support for the proposed alterations, even though they will change the appearance of the existing building. Panel member Matthew Mosca called it “a really brilliant design.”
Hendler Creamery is the latest of several projects planned for Jonestown, including a new Ronald McDonald House and improvements to the park near the McKim Community Center. Less than two blocks away, the National Aquarium is converting the former Chess Communications office building to a $20 million Animal Care and Rescue Center.
“This has been a very, very long time coming,” said Dan Taylor, assistant managing director of neighborhood development for the Baltimore Development Corp. “It dovetails very nicely with other development nearby.”
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