Hollins Market Redevelopment Delayed Due to a Gap in Project Funding

| July 25, 2018 | 0 Comments

War Horse CDC’s proposed redevelopment of Hollins Market is currently paused as the team is searching for more funding for the project. War Horse, the non-profit arm of Scott Plank’s War Horse Cities development company, won the Baltimore Public Market Corporation (BPMC) RFP for a redevelopment of the market.

War Horse has agreed to redevelop the approximately 14,000 sq. ft. “shed” of Hollins Market. This does not include the large attached three-story brick “head house” at this time, however it could be included in a potential Phase 3 of development.

War Horse has hired a construction manager and estimates for the proposed renovation of Hollins Market have come in around $5 million. War Horse has committed $500,000 of equity into the project. The redevelopment will also receive a $250,000 bond from the Maryland General Assembly, and $1,000,000 from Baltimore City. With $1.75 million in commitments, this leaves a funding gap of more than $3 million. War Horse told SouthBMore.com that getting a loan in the future is an option depending on funding and commitment levels.

War Horse is searhing for all grant opportunities through not-for-profit, Baltimore City, and State of Maryland sources. War Horse Director of Design and Development Jim Mills told SouthBMore.com that there is the potential of another bond bill through the Maryland General Assembly. Any momentum on this would likely have to wait until after the November General Election as all General Assembly seats are on the ballot.

Mills said that scaling down the project is also a possibility if funding sources are not identified.

War Horse’s current plan will not change the scale of the shed but will rejuvenate the existing space. The proposed design involves adding a lot of natural light to Hollins Market. This will be achieved by adding large glass windows and doors to the north and east entrances.

There will also be a large glass wall on the north side of the market facing Hollins Square. This area will be one of the common seating areas.

There will also be natural light by adding glass to ceiling openings that are currently used for ventilation.

The exterior will feature new gray paneling, large Hollins Market signs, an expanded sidewalk that can be used for outdoor vending and seating, landscaping, and a reuse of the steel columns around the building.

The interior will keep the same aisle down the middle but Mills told SouthBMore.com that they will be improving the efficiency of the retail space. This will partially be done by eliminating some entrances on the south side of the market which faces mostly residential properties. The interior will have a couple of common seating areas as well as a kids area.

Many stalls will have bar tops and standing ledges so visitors can grab a bite to eat and hang out.

War Horse’s goal is to make Hollins Market’s new offerings a mix of groceries like fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, and seafood, as well as prepared meals, carryout items, healthy options, and sit-down dining options.

War Horse will likely be pursuing a liquor license for the market. “We’ve heard pretty loudly from the community that they’d like a restaurant and bar,” said Mills.

The redeveloped Hollins Market will likely have more than 20 vendors each with 100-600 sq. ft. spaces. War Horse is hiring a leasing consultant who will work on the market and the commercial properties War Horse has purchased around the market

War Horse is working on the design with architect Ana Castro of JRS Architects.

War Horse will also activate the City-owned parking lot across the street from Hollins Market and brand it as Hollins Square. War Horse will lease both properties from BPMC.

Hollins Square will likely be used as a staging area for construction. Then, War Horse will clean up the property and use it for parking, as well as for community events such as concerts and outdoor movies.

Mills said the head house, which has stalls on the first floor, has a “big beautiful room” on the second floor that hasn’t been used since the 1970s. He said renovating it would be a costly endeavor that would likely require at least two new stairwells. He said there is not an obvious tenant for the space at this point, but it could be something they consider in the future. This would require amending their agreement with BPMC.

The first floor stalls at the head house could be a space for existing vendors during renovations or as permanent new locations. Mills also said at a meeting in March that War Horse’s commercial spaces in the community could be used as temporary locations for existing Hollins Market vendors.

War Horse is also planning a three- to five-year, multi-phase housing development in Hollins Market called Hollins Square Homes. War Horse is now rolling out Phase One which will include 11 new-construction townhomes and five renovated rowhomes. All of the homes in Hollins Square Homes are within a block of the Hollins Market.

War Horse is hoping buyers will to take advantage of The University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) Live Near Your Work (LNYW) Program which Hollins Market qualifies for. University employees will qualify for a $16,000 grant from UMB and a matching grant of $2,500 from Baltimore City.

Another component to War Horse’s involvement in the Hollins Market community is working with the City to improve street safety, lighting, beautification, wayfinding signage, and public transportation. War Horse will present ideas this month at a community meeting.

“The thing that attracted Scott Plank in the first place to Hollins Market is that it seemed like such a solid community, there are so many legacy residents,” said Mills. “Our overall focus is strengthening the existing mixed-income community.”

A block north of Hollins Market is W. Baltimore St., a commercial corridor that has struggled in recent history with many vacant store fronts and distressed buildings. Mills said that War Horse is hoping to see improvements along W. Baltimore St. and to engage with many of the building owners.

War Horse has committed upwards of $6 million to date in the Hollins Market neighborhood and plans to spend roughly $20 million in the community.

Renderings courtesy of War Horse CDC

Current Conditions

The Shed

The Head House

Parking lot that will become Hollins Square

About the Author:

Creator of SouthBmore.com and resident of SoBo. Graduate of Towson University and owner of Incept Multimedia, a full service video production company. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, beach volleyball enthusiast, dog lover and "bar food" foodie. Email me at [email protected] and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
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