Reinvestment Fund financing is supporting the redevelopment of Robbins Dancing, formerly known as O’dells, in Central Baltimore’s Station North neighborhood.
The redevelopment will restore and repurpose the vacant and historic 18,500 square foot building, which over the years has housed restaurants, a dancing academy, and two iconic Baltimore nightclubs. The redevelopment is led by Jubilee Baltimore, a nonprofit developer and a Reinvestment Fund partner on many local projects and initiatives.
The restored building will become home to two important nonprofit partners in Baltimore: Code in the Schools, a nonprofit focused on STEM education for public schools; and Young Audiences of Maryland (YAM), a 70-year old arts education organization in Maryland. Code in the Schools is dedicated expanding access to quality computer science education and building pathways from school to jobs and higher education.
By focusing on youth traditionally underrepresented in technology fields, they work to eliminate structural barriers and inequities in education and industry. YAM partners with hundreds of schools and community organizations in all 24 Maryland school districts to provide students—from pre-K to grade 12—with over 230,000 hours annually of discovery, inspiration, and hands-on learning and engagement through the arts. As a center for the creative economy, this project will help Baltimore to attract and retain residents, grow its tax base, and create as many as 100 new jobs.
The project will continue to build on investments that have contributed to creating a vibrant commercial corridor in Station North, Maryland’s premier Arts & Entertainment District. The building is directly across the street from Centre Theatre, a redevelopment led by Jubilee Baltimore that Reinvestment Fund also helped finance. The investment in space for nonprofits and diverse users in the community is also critical to reinforce the strength of the local community of artists, low-income households and community-focused businesses.
The $6.5 million project is being financed through a New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) transaction. Reinvestment Fund’s loan will bridge federal and state historic tax credit financing that the project is receiving. A portion of Reinvestment Fund’s capital for this project comes from the Central Baltimore Future Fund. The project is also receiving financing through the Neighborhood Impact Investment Fund (NIIF) and State and local philanthropic grants. NTCIC is providing the NMTC allocation for the project. Jubilee Baltimore is funding the NMTC leverage loan with funds from in hand from grant sources and the bridge loan. The NMTC transaction is helping to underwrite the significant costs associated with a historic redevelopment and to provide below-market rents for its nonprofit tenants. Reinvestment Fund previously provided a predevelopment loan for the project as it prepared for permanent financing.
The investment will also help Reinvestment Fund continue to support the growth of a local, nonprofit partner, Jubilee Baltimore, which has helped develop $200 million in projects in Baltimore, the majority of which are located steps from the Robbins Dancing building. The redevelopment of Robbins Dancing will include the installation of large solar panels on the entire back roof, creating enough clean power to support the entire building.