769 Washington Boulevard

Property Address:  769 Washington Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21230

Property Owner:  Sunshine Village, LLC, 1405 Park Avenue, Unit 10, Baltimore, MD 21217

Resident Agent for Sunshine Village, LLC:  Marc J. Cohen, 1405 Park Avenue, Apartment 1, Baltimore, MD 21217

City Council District and Contact:  District 10, Ed Reisinger

Hit hard by the real estate slump, the former owner of this much-touted “green building” project sold it, and neither owner ever saw their project come to fruition.  The City condemned this building, and it continues to deteriorate — due to inactivity by its current owner, who has owned the building since 2008.  This same owner has also been the subject of City action, due to the damage he caused to a neighboring home on another of his building sites.  Time for this property owner to be put out of business.

769 Washington Boulevard

769 Washington Boulevard, condemnation notice

Update:  This property has finally been improved by its owner and permits were obtained for the work.  Let’s hope the city is paying close attention to make sure the work is being done properly so neighboring buildings aren’t damaged, as in the case of 1101 Nanticoke Street.

12 comments

  1. Kevin

    This area has the ability to be one of the great main streets in Baltimore and I think it will get there, but is has been a bad economy, a comedy of errors, and a lot of almosts that have led to it still being more sketchy than vibrant. If one great bar/restaurant will open there, I things will change fast!

    • Baltimore Slumlord Watch

      Unfortunately I think it’s going to take a lot more than one good restaurant to improve this neighborhood. There’s been a lot of financial investment in Pigtown over the past 20+ years, and nothing has really made a long-term difference. Part of the problem has been the lack of a true Main Street program (see Fells Point, Lauraville, and Federal Hill for examples of successful, well-funded programs), a lack of a realistic vision for the neighborhood, and the inability of the many community associations to actually work together.

      Until these things change, I don’t forsee a bright future for this part of the city.

    • Paul

      Restaurants can make a difference but just one good one can’t turn an area arouns on its own. As an example I’d point to Darker Than Blue in Waverly. Very good restaurant but poor/marginal neighborhood.

      And I agree with Slummy a good Main Street program for Pigtown could do a world of good. Also maybe some more officers on foot walking around the neighborhood to discourage drug use, prostitution, and other bad behavoir that drags neighborhoods down.

      • Baltimore Slumlord Watch

        Something else that would help Pigtown and other struggling communities — judges need to stop returning criminals to the neighborhood over and over again. How about a little Project Exile? Our courts have to shut the revolving door for violent offenders.

  2. Kevin

    I think if one good restaurant moves in, more could follow and all of the sudden you have a place that people want to go and walk around. Thirsty Dog and another good Bar owner from Federal hill came really close to putting a place on Wash Blvd. I don’t know what happened with Thirsty Dog, but the other never did it because the landlord was unrealistic. That area has a lot of young professionals, they just stay inside and take cabs to Fed Hill.

    The slow progress in Pigtown is interesting to me. It is has everything you could want as far as location. Close to downtown, close to the stadiums, close to some really nice neighborhoods, close to major highways, and has a beautiful park. But it has been passed by many up and coming neighborhoods in Baltimore. I really like the improvement I’ve seen on Washington Blvd lately, mostly due to stimulus money, but it still is far off. I hope it continues to improve, the neighborhood has a lot offer, it is just stuck in the condition SoBo (South Fed Hill) was in 10-15 years ago.

    • Baltimore Slumlord Watch

      Herein lies another part of the problem — actually two parts.

      The “one good restaurant” idea? That’s. Not. Going. To. Work. It takes more than just one business to make a neighborhood — and it takes years of consistent effort — you will note the word “consistent” — on the part of a Main Street or CDC to improve a neighborhood. Doing things in fits and starts doesn’t cut it.

      Also, the comparisons to Federal Hill — another rookie planner mistake. Pigtown is not, nor will it ever be, Federal Hill, SoBo, or whatever folks are calling it these days. You have a totally different demographic in Pigtown — a different layout, and a different vibe. Not to mention, you have a gigantic physical and psychological barrier — MLK Jr. Boulevard. It’s difficult to cross if you’re on foot — God help you if you catch the light at the wrong time, and there’s no intuitive way into Pigtown by car from the east, unless you’re willing to go all the way down Lombard and back around again, or hang a left onto MLK (tricky at certain times of the day) and then a right onto Washington Boulevard. These limitations have, in effect, cut the neighborhood off from sustainable redevelopment — unless that development is planned with the current demographic of Pigtown and points west in mind. Because of these barriers, it’s not a neighborhood people from other parts of the city will come to on a regular basis — and you need that regularity to sustain the present and future development. Unless, of course, the barriers are removed. It would be interesting to see what would happen if MLK from the 395 off-ramp to Lombard was to be turned into a tunnel, with the resulting space above ground turned into a pedestrian way — similar to Connecticut Avenue at Dupont Circle in DC.

  3. Kevin

    I only compared it too federal hill because the back end, technically called SBIC used to be in much worse shape then Pig Town is in now, I lived through it. Sure the demographics are different in Pig Town, they are not that much different though. You take the people who live in Barre Circle which is closer to Main St. than most of Pig Town, and all the people who couldn’t afford to buy in fed hill and bought over there, many of which I know, and you have a crowd that is similar. So IMO you put some good bars and restaurants over there, they would do well. The reason bar owners have backed out was not because of the neighborhood, it was because of the property owners that way overestimated the value of their space, making it not a good business decision.

    Pig Town is not that separated. You can just walk across Ostend. It’s looks like the area South of the Stadium is going to get completely changed with the Casino, and if that development on Ostend and Wicomico ever happens…. all the sudden the two areas kind of flow together. I know plenty of people who live in Pig Town, and they all like it, they just wish they didn’t have to come to Fed Hill just to socialize.

  4. Pete from Highlandtown

    I think that Pigtown suffers from a few different problems.

    number one ,was the large housing development built in the mid 90s [below the B&O Musuem]. Its a nice looking development.But its practicly a gated community [i once rode into it on my bicycle.and had a heck of a time finding a way out]. In Canton and Fells Point, in the early to mid 90s, there were no newer developments.So people had to buy older houses and rehab them. By the time the newer developments started to be built in those areas, the areas had been pretty much rehabbed . To put it bluntly, that new housing development in Pigtown, pretty much drew away a lot of home buyers from the main part of Pigtown

    As far as restraunts and bars, i do think that it would help. Recently a new wine bar opened in my part of Highlandtown [Bistro RX]. And it has helped the neighborhood. I used to have to go to Canton just to get a cheeseburger. Now i never go to Canton to eat.And i now know a lot more of the people in my own neighborhood.

    But it should be mentioned that Canton and Fells Point both had great bars BEFORE they were gentrified. And bars like Nacho Mammas did cause many people to move to areas like Canton [i lived on Canton Square from 1994-2001.And saw the gentrification spread from the square outwards]

    I myself dont think that Pigtown will ever be like Fed hill. And i also dont think that my own neighborhood of Highlandtown will ever be exactly like Canton.and presonally, im glad that it wont be as yuppified as Canton now is. Right now Highlandtown is a very diverse place. It has older blue collar whites.Younger white proffesionals. A third of the neighborhood is latino. A large percentage is blue collar blacks. And there is a growing segment of upper middle class black professionals moving in.

    My point is that Pigtown shouldnt try to be Federal Hill. but it should instead build on what strengths it has.And try to draw a diverse group of people in.And still try to keep the area affordable enough for the old timers
    Thats just my two cents

    • Baltimore Slumlord Watch

      Pete, I agree — if Pigtown had been developed based on existing strengths, it probably would have taken off 10 years ago. Instead, it lingers in this no-man’s land of poverty, with two nicer areas smack in the middle (Barre Circle and Camden Crossing). It’s surprising to most people to find there is an Urban Renewal Plan for Pigtown — however, the plan only dictates what can be developed in the commercial district, there’s no actual master plan for the entire neighborhood — so the residential areas were all but left out of the plan. Federal Hill has a lot of commercial property, where Pigtown does not. One street holds most of the commercial district, and even that turns almost all residential once you get to the 800 block.

  5. Pingback: Development, But For Whom? « Baltimore Slumlord Watch
  6. Kevin

    BTW the building in the article is really a beautiful building. Hopefully it does get in the hands of a quality owner. It is right next door to that magnum project that they seem to put 2 hours a week into. I believed all three buildings where advertised as potential bar/restaurant spot… so we’ll see. Things in Pig Town happen very slow. There is also a plans to tear down that awful corner building at the corner of Cross and Wash, but hasn’t started yet for some reason… that will help the appearance of the street for sure, looks like there have def been some squatting there for years.

  7. Pingback: Development, But For Whom? | Housing Policy Watch

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