Bath House Square Development Begins Construction in Pigtown

| August 22, 2018 | 1 Comments

SAA/EVI recently started construction on its multi-million dollar Bath House Square development at 906 Washington Blvd. in Pigtown. Two adjacent, formerly City-owned buildings make up the site that includes 7,760 sq. ft. of interior space, 6,203 sq. ft. of total land, and 60 ft. of frontage along Washington Blvd. SAA/EVI acquired the properties in a Baltimore Development Corp (BDC) request for proposals (RFP).

Bath House Square will bring eight “high-end” one-bedroom apartments and about 1,700 sq. ft. of retail to Washington Blvd. The retail space will be filled by Milk & Honey Market, which is owned by Dana Valery,  who is the wife of SAA/EVI Principal Ernst Valery. Milk & Honey Market’s former location in Mount Vernon is relocating to the Nelson Kohl Apartments in Station North, another SAA/EVI project with 103 high-end apartments that opened earlier this year.

Rendering Courtesy of SAA/EVI and Marks, Thomas Architects 

Milk & Honey Market will be a coffee shop and cafe that serves La Colombe coffee and espresso drinks, smoothies, sandwiches, breakfast sandwiches, paninis, salads, and an assortment of bagels and muffins. Ernst Valery said Milk & Honey Market will be open every day and he hopes it will be a popular brunch place on the weekends. SAA/EVI is not currently pursuing a liquor license for the retail space. The cafe will likely open next Spring and employ 10 to 15 people.

The Bath House Square properties consist of a former Baltimore City Fire Station constructed in 1872 and a public bath house that was constructed in 1901. The public bath house was most recently the home of the COR Health Institute which relocated to East Baltimore. The former fire station has been vacant for many years.

SAA/EVI is constructing the project with Baltimore City and federal historic tax credits. The project will bring back the windows, and preserve the exterior and much of the interior, including fireplaces. Bath House Square will have a shared rooftop deck and 6 to 12 parking spaces.

Ernst Valery described the apartments as “middle income community apartments” but noted they will be a high-end product. He said rent for the one-bedroom units would be about $1,200 per month.

Ernst Valery had a lot to say when asked why he chose Pigtown for his latest investment, a neighborhood that has not yet attracted the high-end and luxury multi-family developments that have been popping up in many of the other neighborhoods around Downtown Baltimore. “We like a very diverse neighborhood – that’s what we look for, that’s where I want to invest,” said Valery. “We saw really good things happening in Pigtown and professionals of all kinds. Hopefully we’ll add to that and look at some larger developments in the future to add more density to the neighborhood.”

Ernst Valery noted that adding density to a neighborhood brings safety because it gets more eyes on the street and is a way to develop without displacement of existing residents.

Ernst Valery said its “infuriating” that diverse neighborhoods are approached with handouts, high interest loans, and clinics, and not dollars to rebuild them and put in cafes. “We are the counter to that. Let’s go into neighborhoods that value diversity and start investing,” said Valery. “We love taking a chance and doing something quality. You can’t get $2,000 to $3,000 rents in Pigtown, so some don’t invest here.”

Valery hopes to bring a project like Nelson Kohl to the Pigtown area in the future.

Valery also raved about all the “energy” happening on the 900 block of Washington Blvd. with businesses such as the newly-opened Suspended Brewing Company and Mobtown Ballroom.

SAA/EVI is also currently under construction on the former St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church in Upper Fells Point which is converting the 130-year-old property into 37 apartments and a brew pub.

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