How Neighbors in Union Square Purchased a Commercial Property to Control Its Future

| September 16, 2019 | 0 Comments

A group of neighbors in Union Square who go by Place for Good People LLC, purchased a commercial property at 1301 Hollins St. in their neighborhood to make sure they controlled its future. The property was previously the home of Top Carry Out and began to attract “unwanted activity and drugs in recent years,” according to Thomas Hams of Place for Good People.

Place for Good People purchased the commercial property that fronts the unit block of S. Carey St. in late 2017. It includes a 1,217 sq. ft., one-story carryout restaurant building on a 4,267 sq. ft. lot with surface parking. The team has since completed the environmental remediation to the property, which was once a BP gas station. Prior to becoming a gas station in the 1930s, the property consisted of three rowhomes.

The Place for Good People team will be adding new landscaping to the property to replace some of the former concrete surface and will start making light improvements to the building in hopes of leasing it to a business. They hope to have the property ready to lease to a business in about a year.

Hams said they would love to get a quality tenant, such as a restaurant with outdoor seating or an office tenant, to lease the property. The property will still have a couple parking spaces, but less than it previously had because of the new green space.

Hams said that the negative activities on the property have gone away since Place for Good People have taken over management. He noted they are not real estate developers and referred to this effort as a “passion project to improve the quality of life in your neighborhood,” and chance for residents to “control your own destiny.”

Hams sees Carey St., the boundary between the Union Square and Hollins Market neighborhoods, as a commercial corridor in the area and this as an opportunity to add another business. Primo Chicken also faces the unit block of S. Carey St. A couple other vacant commercial properties are within a block of the property, mostly in the Hollins Market neighborhood.

1301 Hollins St. is adjacent to the 1200 block of Hollins St., which Hams described as “the transition” between the mostly residential Union Square and the business district around Hollins Market, which is mixed residential and storefronts. Improvements are coming to the 1200 block of Hollins St as Scott Plank’s War Horse Cities demolished four vacant homes that were destroyed in a fire and is replacing them, along with an adjacent lot, with 10 new townhomes. War Horse is also constructing five additional townhomes at the corner of the Arlington St. and Hollins St. and improving many other properties around Hollins Market.

The team behind Place for Good People also owns three properties from 28 to 32 S. Carey St. under the name Park for Good People LLC. The properties, which are unimproved lots, are adjacent to the commercial property at 1301 Hollins St.

The lots were converted into a park called Park for Good People about seven years. The team was adopting the lots from Baltimore City for several years before purchasing them in 2017 to make sure they were not sold to someone else. The group of neighbors partnered with the local Gallery Church and a church group from North Carolina to build the park. The neighborhood group has been maintaining the space and a publicly-accessible park at which they also host move nights.

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