At its peak, A. Hoen & Co. employed over 250 people at the complex and was one of the most important lithographers in the US. The business closed in 1981 and the complex has been vacant for over three decades. It has added to the blight in a distressed neighborhood where 25% of its residential structures are vacant and unemployment is at 28%.
The redevelopment will transform the 80,000 square foot, five building complex into a Center for Neighborhood Innovation that will house several community serving nonprofits. It is the first major redevelopment project north of the rail line to build off the momentum created by the EBDI efforts in East Baltimore.
The redevelopment is led by Cross Street Partners, a for-profit real estate development and consulting firm that undertakes complex redevelopment in Baltimore neighborhoods. Cross Street has partnered with two local nonprofits in this redevelopment, both of which will have a small ownership share in the project. Strong City Baltimore provides an array of programs to strengthen Baltimore neighborhoods including adult education, community organizing, housing assistance for seniors, and wrap around services for public school families. City Life Community Builders provides construction workforce training that works in tandem with their for-profit affiliate, City Life Historic Properties, which renovates rowhomes in the neighborhood for sale.
Reinvestment Fund has been a key financing partner, first providing predevelopment financing to complete design and engineering of the renovations. Reinvestment Fund is also providing financing for the New Markets Tax Credit transaction that is supporting the redevelopment. The financing includes a leverage source loan and a loan that bridges State historic tax credits. Total development costs are $27 million. US Bank is the NMTC investor as well as the Federal Historic credit investor. The NMTC allocation comes from National Trust Community Investment Corporation (NTCIC), Telesis and City First Bank.
The project aligns with Reinvestment Fund’s core mission of neighborhood revitalization. The revitalization of a blighted property is poised to positively impact the efforts to revitalize the surrounding blocks and spur follow-on investments in the neighborhood. The nonprofit tenants will also bring a range of new or expanded services to the surrounding community including workforce training, adult literacy and community organizing.