$1.05-Million Community Center in Sharp-Leadenhall Breaks Ground

| December 4, 2017 | 0 Comments

An official groundbreaking took place last week for the Leadenhall Community Center which will be built in a lot adjacent to the Leadenhall Baptist Church at 1021 Leadenhall St. in Sharp-Leadenhall. The 2,400 sq. ft., $1,050,000 facility is part of Caves Valley Partners (CVP) Stadium Square redevelopment project.

Leadenhall Community Center is a vision of Reverend Doctor Alvin Gwynn, Jr., who is the pastor of Leadenhall Baptist Church. He began discussing the idea with CVP five years ago. CVP is contributing $550,000 to the project and the State of Maryland is contributing $500,000. At the groundbreaking, Arsh Mirmiran of CVP thanked former and current members of South Baltimore’s District 46 State Delegation for their efforts in securing the matching funds.

Rendering courtesy of Caves Valley Partners and Design Collective

Upon completion, the community center will offer a variety of programs including workforce development, veteran services, an annual community health fair, a “Community Eat Together” program, and homelessness intervention. These programs will be delivered through partnerships with the United Way of Central Maryland and other local organizations such as the Maryland Food Bank. The community center is also working with the South Baltimore Gateway Partnership to secure grant funding for programming as well.

United Way CEO Franklyn Baker said at the groundbreaking that United Way already has a caseworker in the Sharp-Leadenhall community.

Mirmiran met with Pastor Gwynn before announcing Stadium Square. “The goal of that initial meeting, beyond just becoming acquainted, was to make it clear that our intention was not to displace residents, and to get feedback about how to make Stadium Square as inclusive as possible,” said Mirmiran at the groundbreaking. “To the surprise of many, the answer was not to push for more affordable housing, though we are creating affordable housing for veterans and police officers here; to donate to individual causes; or to pay anyone consulting fees or any other payments to support the project, but rather to ensure the project would provide opportunities for current residents.”

“Our conversation progressed and the neighborhood leadership detailed a vision for a community center that would provide Sharp-Leadenhall residents access to job training, its children to after school programs focused on skills like science and technology, improved access to healthcare for all residents, activities for seniors, and a food bank as a safety net for those that needed it from time to time,” added Mirmiran.

Pastor Gwynn was excited for this moment to finally come and thanked members of Leadenhall Baptist Church who believed in the vision and stuck with the team during the planning. He also thanked the partners that have made this community center possible.

Pastor Gwynn said the vision did not start with him but with his predecessor Dr. Samuel James who began the South Baltimore Relief Center in 1932. “It was during a time of depression and there were few opportunities available for people to have a sustainable way of life,” said Pastor Gwynn. “We are building on that foundation today.”

The groundbreaking was also attended by Baltimore City Mayor Catherine Pugh, Councilman Eric Costello, and members of Sharp-Leadenhall Improvement Association and the Sharp-Leadenhall community.

Construction is expected to take six months. The architect for the project is Design Collective and the contractor is T. Brooks, Inc.

Stadium Square is on three blocks of South Baltimore and Sharp-Leadenhall located between Cross St. on the north, Race St. on the east, Leadenhall St. on the west, and both sides of Ostend St. to the south. The project will have approximately 600 apartments, 2,000 parking spaces, 450,000 sq. ft. of office space, and 75,000 sq. ft. of retail.

Already completed at Stadium Square is the 299-unit Hanover Cross Street apartment building with 14,000 sq. ft. of retail, as well as the 72,000 sq. ft. office building 145 W. Ostend St. which is more than 50% leased. The next project at Stadium Square will be the repurposing of the former four-story Vac Pac building at 150 W. Ostend St. into a 30,000 sq. ft. office building with ground floor retail.

CVP is also working with the community and Baltimore City Recreation and Parks on a new Master Plan for Solo Gibbs Park.


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