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Developer of Single Carrot’s new space seeks $500,000 loan

Seawall Development makes its presence felt in Remington, while the 25th Street Station shopping center fizzles.

single carrot tire shop

A Remington tire shop is being redeveloped by a budding real estate empire.

Photo by: Fern Shen

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.

Revitalized Remington

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.

Seawall Development renovated this rowhouse on Lorraine Avenue for sale. (Photo by Fern Shen)

Seawall renovated this rowhouse at 204 Lorraine Avenue for sale. (Photo by Fern Shen)

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.

Meanwhile, plans to build a grandiose retail center in Remington, at the site of Anderson Automotive Group (pictured) have stalled. Photo by Mark Reutter

Meanwhile, plans to build a grandiose retail center in Remington at the site of the Anderson dealership (pictured) have gone nowhere. (Photo by Mark Reutter)

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.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=782478637 Nick Sheridan

    It’s encouraging that the developer of the Walmart site gives credit to the protesters for preventing another low-wage, job sucking development (even though he calls it blame)

  • BmoreFree

    The truth is both types of development are needed in this area. Seawell’s infill development and targeted projects go hand in glove with the larger 25th Street Shopping complex.

    While Walmart’s labor practices are not admirable they do offer low priced items for people living from paycheck to paycheck. Or, perhaps it is better to have no development at all? I have given up trying to figure out how any development progresses in this town. For every announced plan you have neighborhood groups come out for and against the development.

  • BmoreFree

    The truth is both types of development are needed in this area. Seawell’s infill development and targeted projects go hand in glove with the larger 25th Street Shopping complex.

    While Walmart’s labor practices are not admirable they do offer low priced items for people living from paycheck to paycheck. Or, perhaps it is better to have no development at all? I have given up trying to figure out how any development progresses in this town. For every announced plan you have neighborhood groups come out for and against the development.

    • Matthew Riesner

      Agreed,
      there are too many groups that “represent” different areas of the
      city. For one, ideally, each neighborhood should be forced to have to work out
      their differences and have only one neighborhood association; it should not just
      be a room full of the like-minded. The city needs to create sustentative criteria
      for what constitutes a neighborhood association and monitor elections and
      votes. Furthermore, for projects that span multiple neighborhoods, like the Wal-Mart
      project, there needs to be limits on how much a neighborhood association can
      fight these proposed projects in court if the other neighborhood associations
      impacted are supportive of it.

  • baltimorebrew

    We got some more information on the restaurant proposed for 2600 N. Howard St — it will be operated by Spike Gjerde of Woodberry Kitchen. -mr

  • http://profiles.google.com/jamiehunt344 James Hunt

    Nick Sheridan wrote: “It’s encouraging that the developer of the Walmart site gives credit to the protesters for preventing another low-wage, job sucking development …”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Yep. And locals (non-hipster types) with cars will continue to do their main shopping in the ‘burbs, local unemployment will remain high, yet another barely-paying-taxes vacant lot (11 acres) will remain vacant. Woo hoo! How encouraging!

  • http://twitter.com/bosconet p johnson

    Does anyone know if the tax breaks for the 25th Street Station site are attached to any development on that site or just the “25th Street Station” development that is foundering…..

  • baltimorebrew

    To p johnson: Good question.

    The 25th St site is one of the city’s Enterprize Zone (“EZ”) districts, making new commercial development eligible for a 50% reduction in property taxes for the first five years, with 10% incremental increases over the next five years. -mr

  • Matthew Riesner

    The
    area needs these low paying, low skill jobs for the younger, not-well educated
    members of the community. The well-educated and skilled in Remington work for
    various employers (JHU, downtown offices, government, car repair shops,
    construction, etc.), but there is not much for those without skill/education.
    As of now, I see many younger people approximately ages 15-25, who possess very
    few skills, essentially becoming street trash by selling drugs, dropping out of
    school, having no place to be during the day, using drugs, becoming involved
    with gang and criminal activities. It becomes extremely apparent if I have a
    day off from work and come home to see so many of them out and about in the
    middle of the day, being delinquents and accomplishing nothing for themselves.
    I live on the 2700 block of Huntingdon Avenue, 2 blocks from where the shopping
    center was to be built and feel that we need the Wal-Mart’s of the world to
    hire these youths, so they are not being street trash and instill some work
    ethic as young as legally possible. I don’t care if their pay scales are low or
    they have labor problems, for these youths, a jobs is better than no job. A job
    of any kind keeps people out of trouble and teaches some, even if low level,
    skills.

  • bruuuce

    Yes Wal-Mart creates jobs. But for every minimum wage, part-time job created at Wal-Mart, the city can expect to lose another (typically better-paying) job elsewhere. If Wal-Mart moves in, Safeway will most likely close and lose all of its unionized better-paying jobs, and leave another large vacant store right in the center of the city.

    We need more retail options in Baltimore, but the location and stores should all be a net positive for the city—not result in overall loss of wages and benefits. Besides, if you want to support a big box store in Baltimore, why not shop at the existing Target, two miles away?

    • Matthew Riesner

      This Walmart is not going to take away local jobs that pay more. People living in the area already, in mass, drive to similar low paying shops in the burbs. As for Safeway, if they were to close, it would have little to nothing to do with the Walmart down the street. The Safeway on 25th street is mismanaged, understaffed, with long lines, high prices, and prices that are poorly marked. I live in Remington, 5 blocks from the Safeway and do just about all of my shopping at the Giant in Hampden, Walmart (in the burbs), Target at Mondawmin, or BJ’s (in the burbs). I stopped going to the Safeway because I consistantly found that the lines are too long (well into the ailes with only 2 or 3 people working at the registers) and the store is poorly ran (misrepresenting sale prices, products not where they are supposed to be etc). I find the service better and the lines shorter at the Save-A-Lot at 22nd and Maryland Ave (the biggest problem with that place is that I don’t want to bring my infant son near all of the methodone junkies that hang out at that shopping center and are aggresively trying to bum money out front of there).

    • Matthew Riesner

      This Walmart is not going to take away local jobs that pay more. People living in the area already, in mass, drive to similar low paying shops in the burbs. As for Safeway, if they were to close, it would have little to nothing to do with the Walmart down the street. The Safeway on 25th street is mismanaged, understaffed, with long lines, high prices, and prices that are poorly marked. I live in Remington, 5 blocks from the Safeway and do just about all of my shopping at the Giant in Hampden, Walmart (in the burbs), Target at Mondawmin, or BJ’s (in the burbs). I stopped going to the Safeway because I consistantly found that the lines are too long (well into the ailes with only 2 or 3 people working at the registers) and the store is poorly ran (misrepresenting sale prices, products not where they are supposed to be etc). I find the service better and the lines shorter at the Save-A-Lot at 22nd and Maryland Ave (the biggest problem with that place is that I don’t want to bring my infant son near all of the methodone junkies that hang out at that shopping center and are aggresively trying to bum money out front of there).

  • http://profiles.google.com/jamiehunt344 James Hunt

    bruuuce wrote: ” … If Wal-Mart moves in, Safeway will most likely close and lose all of its unionized better-paying jobs, and leave another large vacant store right in the center of the city. …”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Oh, c’mon … you really believe residents of the People’s Republic of Lower Charles Village are suddenly going to move en masse to Wal-Mart to do their grocery shopping? Why, just up the road a piece, Upper Charles Villagers are pledging their undying fidelity to Eddie’s on St. Paul Street.
    Anyway, too bad for the ‘hood. Wal-Mart angst has obscured the fact that the most of the development consists of apartments, a bank, restaurants, and smaller stores that have figured out how to thrive in Wal-Mart’s shadow. Plus, the auto repair center, parking, and a storage facility that are there now. Not a bad mix, really.
    On the bright side, maybe this interlude will give the proprietors of Atomic Books, Red Emma’s, et al the chance team up, pay property owner Bruce Mortimer fair market value for his property, and develop a workers’ paradise full of affordable housing and locally-owned, “living-wage” paying stores without need for city and state tax incentives.

  • http://profiles.google.com/jamiehunt344 James Hunt

    bruuuce wrote: ” … If Wal-Mart moves in, Safeway will most likely close and lose all of its unionized better-paying jobs, and leave another large vacant store right in the center of the city. …”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Oh, c’mon … you really believe residents of the People’s Republic of Lower Charles Village are suddenly going to move en masse to Wal-Mart to do their grocery shopping? Why, just up the road a piece, Upper Charles Villagers are pledging their undying fidelity to Eddie’s on St. Paul Street.
    Anyway, too bad for the ‘hood. Wal-Mart angst has obscured the fact that the most of the development consists of apartments, a bank, restaurants, and smaller stores that have figured out how to thrive in Wal-Mart’s shadow. Plus, the auto repair center, parking, and a storage facility that are there now. Not a bad mix, really.
    On the bright side, maybe this interlude will give the proprietors of Atomic Books, Red Emma’s, et al the chance team up, pay property owner Bruce Mortimer fair market value for his property, and develop a workers’ paradise full of affordable housing and locally-owned, “living-wage” paying stores without need for city and state tax incentives.

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