Confronting the Challenges of Projects in Baltimore, Maryland

This article focuses on how Baltimore is confronting its financial struggles and environmental challenges through projects such as Forest City-New East Baltimore Partnership (EBDI). It also discusses how organizations like Johns Hopkins Institutions (JHU) are inves

Confronting the Challenges of Projects in Baltimore, Maryland

The city of Baltimore, Maryland has been facing a number of financial and environmental challenges in recent years. The Bailey court order, which requires the modernization of 830 homes for the disabled, has put a strain on the agency's budget. Additionally, climate change is having a detrimental effect on the city's infrastructure and public health. In order to confront these daunting challenges, Baltimore has turned to a for-profit joint venture called Forest City-New East Baltimore Partnership (EBDI).

This venture was appointed as the lead developer for the initial phase of the Project. East Baltimore was chosen as the site for this Project due to its high housing vacancy rates, crime, child mortality, and unemployment statistics. The Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF) provided debt and equity financing to support other debt and equity investments under the Project.

AECF shares in UPS, owned by founder James Casey, were used as collateral and the resulting loans served to increase capital investment for EBDI and allowed the project to continue when market conditions and project risk proved dangerous for private investors. The progress shown in the geography of the Project has led private and non-profit developers to increasingly accelerate investments in neighborhoods in East Baltimore, including the purchase of new homes in the neighborhoods of Oliver, Milton-Montford, Broadway East, and the Broadway corridor. The project still has the Master Plan goals pending, with another 350 housing units under construction in the next six to 12 months. The Johns Hopkins Institutions (JHU), an economic reference institution in the city and one of the main employers in the Baltimore region, approached the project as an economic developer would.

JHU was aware that reinvestment in its hospital in East Baltimore could mean stability for its local workforce, visits to patients, the neighborhood and its residents and, in general, for the city as a whole. This was explained by Andy Frank, assistant to the president of JHU. The revival of the project was marked by the construction of a 20-story residential tower called The 929, owned and funded by JHU. The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) competitively awards Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs) to nonprofit and for-profit sponsors of eligible housing projects.

In this example, organizations with the primary objective of helping to meet the credit, housing, and economic development needs of low- and moderate-income communities led a project by involving other organizations to take on new roles and assume financial leadership. The Food Campus and Hoen Lithograph building are other emblematic development projects that are being carried out in East Baltimore. These projects demonstrate how reinvestment can bring about positive change for a community facing disinvestment issues. It is clear that Baltimore is taking steps to confront its challenges head on by investing in projects that will benefit its citizens.

From the beginning, a fundamental principle of any project undertaken in this neighborhood was that local residents and key stakeholders should be in a position to oversee development and efforts to provide benefits to the community. This is an important step towards ensuring that these projects are successful and beneficial for all involved.

Autumn Regel
Autumn Regel

Amateur beer trailblazer. Lifelong internet specialist. Proud travel trailblazer. Professional music fan. Extreme social media specialist.

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