Historic Office and Retail Development ‘Riverside’ Hopes to Start Construction in Coming Months

| October 18, 2023 | 0 Comments

Riverside, an office and retail development at the former Heinz Riverside Abattoir building at 1900 Light St. in Riverside/South Baltimore, hopes to start construction in the next four to six months. The development is a partnership between building owners Stephen and Cheryl Wilhide and development company Urban Pastoral Collective.

The two-story, 34,500 sq. ft. property is made up of four buildings that were combined over the years. The property was recently the home of the Wilhide family’s Wilhide Draperies Inc. (WDI), in addition to other businesses and apartments. WDI moved to an 8,000 sq. ft. building at 2802 Frederick Rd. in Southwest Baltimore in 2017.

The property at 1900 Light St. dates back to 1885 and for many years it was the home of slaughterhouses Heinz Riverside Abattoir and Southern Beef. The property was gutted and cleaned up in recent years.

The project was first announced in 2018. Since then it has acquired $3.3 million in Federal and Maryland historic tax credits. It also acquired a City of Baltimore Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP) 10-year property tax credit.

Urban Pastoral Founder and CEO JJ Reidy said they are trying to complete a construction loan and will be pulling construction permits once it has closed.

The Riverside team will start construction on a “warm-lit shell” which will prep the building for tenant build-outs. This construction, which will likely take about a year, would add a new roof, new windows, new skylights, new concrete slab, new utilities, expanded sidewalks with planters, repointed exterior brick, and restored “Heinz Riverside Abattoir” signage to the building.

The original boiler in the basement will be cleaned up and incorporated as a relic in different parts of the building. New doors will be installed to honor the former barn doors on the building. Many of the window openings in the building, which have been covered over the years, will be reopened with new windows.

The first floor will have six retail spaces. Reidy said the four closest to Wells St. will be ideal for hospitality uses and restaurants. He noted the building has a basement which will give the tenants additional space that could help with catering and selling prepared goods. These spaces will range from 1,500 sq. ft. to 3,000 sq. ft.

Reidy said they are hoping to lure restaurants that will be excited about the historic character of the building. He hopes to have a coffee shop to anchor the entrance area facing Wells St.

The property will have two additional retail spaces deeper in the building on Light St. Reidy noted these could be ideal for a “modern bodega and bottle shop,” similar to The Wine Source in Hampden; a daycare center; or a brewery or distillery.

There will be 7,500 sq. ft. of office space on the second floor. This could be used for just one tenant or divided up into 1,500 sq. ft. to 2,000 sq. ft. office spaces. Reidy noted these spaces will be “move-in ready” and could be ideal for boutique fitness studios, design studios, or any additional office uses.

The Wilhides and Urban Pastoral are working with Ana Henrich and Peter Jackson of JLL to lease the spaces. Reidy said there have been talks with tenants, but there is nothing to announce at this time.

Development on or abutting the four blocks of Wells St. have added more than 1,000 new apartments in the past 15 years, but Reidy noted the retail in the area has not kept up with the residential expansion. He hopes Riverside will be a draw and asset for everyone within a 15-minute walk of the project.

Reidy mentioned how restauranteurs Spike Gjerde and Lane Harlan made the Woodberry and Remington neighborhoods, respectively, a draw. He’s hoping to find partners looking to do the same for this section of South Baltimore. He highlighted the success of Hersh’s, which sits catty corner to this project, in bringing diners to this area and believes clustering businesses together can lead to more success than “being on an island.”

Riverside has 32 parking spaces around its building which will remain. The Wilhides have also acquired a City-owned lot on the 1800 block of Westphal Pl. that they hope to convert into a parking lot for nine to 12 cars.

The Riverside team is also working with the community in hopes of installing a median on the 1900 block of Light St. This could add some additional useable green space to the block.

Renderings courtesy of Urban Pastoral 

Photos of 1900 Light St. from 2019

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Founder and Publisher of SouthBmore.com, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, father of three, amateur pizza chef, skateboarder, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at Kevin@InceptMM.com and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.