Seawall Development Co. is seeking a $500,000 state loan to help renovate a former tire repair shop into a theatrical and dining hub, part of the group’s growing presence in North Baltimore.
Single Carrot Theatre has agreed to be the first tenant of the planned conversion of Mr. James’ Tire Shop into performance space as well as a new restaurant, butcher shop and offices for non-profit organizations on North Howard Street.
Single Carrot was displaced from its quarters in Station North last fall when the Load of Fun building was vacated due to a zoning code violation.
The city Board of Estimates is scheduled tomorrow to approve the Seawall loan request, made to the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.
On April 9, an informational meeting, including a plan to remediate contaminants found in the soil at the tire shop, will be held at 6 p.m. at Saint Philip and James Catholic Church at 2801 North Charles Street.
Seawall, a partnership of Donald Manekin, Thibault Manekin and Evan H. Morville, has made its presence known in the Remington community, even as the more publicized and controversial “25th Street Station” shopping center has failed to materialize.
Once ringed by factories and railroad sidings, blue-collar Remington is becoming a hip “hot spot” for artists, musicians and young professionals.
In 2009, Seawall opened Miller’s Court, a onetime tin can factory on 26th Street, to provide affordable housing for public school teachers. Its corner coffee shop, Charmington’s, has become a magnet for the latte-drinking set from nearby Charles Village and Johns Hopkins University.
Last year, the Manekins and Morville purchased Mr. James’ Tire Shop, a squat, industrial building opposite Miller’s Court, at 2600 North Howard.
In its application for state loans, Seawall says it will invest about $318,000 in the reconstruction of the building.
The Meyerhoff Foundation and Howard Bank will provide pre-development funding.
Additional funds will come from Maryland’s Department of Business and Economic Development, Small Business Credit Initiative, Baltimore Development Corp. (BDC) and Howard Bank.
Seawall recently completed the renovation of Union Mill, a 19th century textile factory in nearby Woodberry, and is converting vacant, boarded-up houses on the 2800 block of Remington Avenue as well as on Lorraine Avenue behind the tire shop.
Big-Box Complex in Limbo
The Manekins’ success at finishing relatively small projects contrasts with the stalled progress of 25th Street Station, the “big-box” retail and apartment complex a block south of the tire shop.
More than two years after the 11-acre redevelopment was approved by the City Council, the $65 million project has shown no visible signs of moving forward.
Developer R. Richard (“Rick”) Walker was hailed as a visionary when he announced plans for a suburban-style plaza between 24th and 25th streets to house Walmart and Lowe’s stores, a bevy of specialty retailers and up to 90 new townhouses.
The developer and his chief spokesman, Ballard Spahr attorney Jon Laria, have blamed two lawsuits filed by citizens for holding back the project. In late 2011, Lowe’s announced it was dropping out of the plan.
Anderson Files to Terminate Sale Agreement
In its latest setback, Anderson Automotive Group President Bruce Mortimer, whose family owns the site at Howard and 25th Streets, filed legal action to terminate its sale agreement with WV Baltimore-24/Sisson LLC, the development arm of the Walker group.
Mortimer says the Walker group missed a September 30 deadline to complete a purchase agreement with Walmart, in which the retail giant would commit to purchasing a portion of the site to open a store.
Mortimer wants the courts to nullify his company’s agreement to sell to Walker. With plans to close his car dealership, Mortimer is seeking to sell the land to another developer.
Laria has not responded to a request for comment by The Brew.