Design panel approves second phase of Washington Hill apartments

Written by on August 21, 2013 in Neighborhood News - No comments

Drew Chapman, vice president at Jefferson Apartment Group, said that his company hopes to have residents moving in to Jefferson Square sometime next summer. The first phase of construction is pictured; the second phase, which has just been approved by the city’s design review panel, will occur to the immediate south (left of photo). - Photo by Erik Zygmont

The city’s Urban Design and Architectural Review Panel has approved the design for the second phase of Jefferson Square at Washington Hill, an apartment-and-retail development just south of the Johns Hopkins medical campus, covering the block bordered by E. Fayette and Baltimore streets to the north and south and S. Wolfe and Washington streets to the east and west.

“We’re excited to bring what we think is a transformative project to this section of  Baltimore City,” said Drew Chapman, a vice president and development partner with the Jefferson Apartment Group, who is developing the block and will manage the apartments.

The second phase of construction calls for 200 apartment units on the southern half of the block. The first phase, with 304 apartments ranging from 550-square-foot studios to 1400-square-foot two-bedroom units, is currently under construction.

Chapman said that those units will likely be completed and ready for move-ins during the summer of 2014.

That project includes a CVS Caremark store as well as an additional 10,000 square feet of retail space at the corner of Wolfe and Fayette streets. Chapman said that his firm is currently actively pursuing “food-oriented” retail tenants, and that one, two or three different businesses could fill the space.

The second phase is purely residential, Chapman said, though there will be park space open to the public, more or less latitudinal to E. Fairmount Ave.

The UDARP panelists praised the presentation for the development.

“I think if there could be a model of how one should present to a board, you guys would be it,” said panelist David Haresign, following the presentation by architect Edsel Arnold.

At the beginning of his presentation, Arnold had noted that the revised plans call for more pedestrian features, such as first-floor stoops and pedestrian entrances, in response to UDARP panelists’ concerns from a review meeting earlier this summer.

Arnold also noted that the four-story structure is higher than some of the corresponding residential buildings on Wolfe, Washington and Baltimore streets.  The apartment complex, though, corresponds to the height of churches on those streets, he said.

The second phase includes a fitness center and “pub gaming room,” as well as an outdoor pool, Chapman said.

Some residents in the adjacent Butchers Hill neighborhood have expressed concern that tenants of Jefferson Square will add to neighborhood parking congestion. The complex provides parking for 1.1 cars for every apartment unit. Some residents have been advocating that, for large apartment developments, parking be attached to leasing . In other words, tenants would be required to lease parking with their apartments, lessening the likelihood that they choose free parking on nearby city streets instead.

“We’re operating consistently with what every large scale apartment complex in the city is doing,” commented Chapman, “and the same way we operate every building we own and manage in the Mid Atlantic.

by Erik Zygmont

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