Muriel Welch June 7, 2018

Ayman Shahid, center right, superintendent of building inspection for Baltimore Housing, looks over demolition permit with a worker at 3523 Clipper Road. The Woodberry building, and the one adjacent to it, (Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore Sun)

A pair of 1840s-era stone buildings in Woodberry is scheduled to be demolished to make way for an apartment complex.

The adjacent buildings at 3523 and 3511 Clipper Road are on track to be knocked down, paving the way for a four-story complex with 60 to 80 units, developer Chris Mfume said.

The new building would be comprised of mostly studio apartments with a few one-bedroom units, said Mfume, managing partner of CLD Partners. Studios would range from 350 square feet to 450 square feet, with rents between $1,100 and $1,300 per month, he said.

Keeping the historic structures intact would limit the size of the project and raise the cost of rent, something Mfume said he is trying to avoid.

The buildings, part of the Woodberry Historic District, are on the National Register of Historic Places. But that does not protect them from demolition by law, according to the Baltimore Commission for Historic and Architectural Preservation.

Mfume has secured permits for demolition to the buildings’ interiors and additions, according to Baltimore Housing documents, and work has begun on dismantling the additions.

Mfume is awaiting permits for full demolition, he said. Notices on the buildings indicate they are scheduled to be razed June 15, but Mfume said he will postpone the full demolition until after a June 19 meeting with the Woodberry Community Association.

Mfume did not have a timeline for the project’s completion, and said he wants to spend more time working with residents before construction continues.

Mfume said some residents voiced concerns about the apartment during a May meeting with the Woodberry Community Association, but they were able to talk through their concerns. Representatives from the community association could not immediately be reached for comment.

He said he’s heard more criticism since demolition notices were posted on the buildings. To allay concerns about construction, he said he plans to meet with the community association again June 19 to discuss the project.

“This is all kind of generally kind of new for me as far as the comments on the stone houses because this wasn’t what I heard at the first community meeting,” Mfume said.

He said he’s eager to work with Woodberry residents going forward.

Johns Hopkins, executive director of Baltimore Heritage, said in an email that Woodberry is unusual in that the 1840s-era neighborhood remains almost entirely intact; few of the original buildings have been lost.

“The stone houses, including the two that are proposed to be demolished, were built to attract workers to the mill back then are at the core of what gives this mill village its charm and what makes it unique,” he wrote. “Woodberry is Woodberry because of its 175-year-old stone houses and we should do all we can to keep them standing.”

Mfume said part of what drew him to Woodberry was the neighborhood’s character and its proximity to the light rail. He envisions the complex as a transit-oriented development, and said the building would included plenty of bike storage, a garage with spaces for car sharing and transit screens showing nearby rideshare drivers.

The complex would also include an observation deck on the top floor. Mfume said the apartments would be outfitted with large windows, and communal spaces would incorporate “thoughtful programming.” PI.KL Studio is the architecture firm for the project.

Mfume also noted developments in Hampden as selling points that attracted him to the area.

“Woodberry can kind of feed off of that,” he said.

This article will be updated.

Baltimore Sun reporter Christina Tkacik contributed to this article.

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