We’ve had our eye on the 5000 block of Baltimore Avenue for awhile now, watching as it has slowly improved. We’ve seen new businesses open on the block, like bar-restaurant Booker’s, event space Petit Fete, and artsy gift shop Vix Emporium. We’ve seen plans come and go without coming to fruition, like an idea to expand the Mercy Wellness Center along the southern side of the block via eminent domain. And most recently, we watched as developers built a small mixed-use building on a long vacant lot in the middle of the block.
While the block has made great strides, it isn’t a finished product by a long shot. There are a few blighted buildings on the western end of the block that have weighted it down for years, and we’ve long hoped that they’d get renovated. This hope not only comes from a desire to see blight eliminated, but it’s also due to the fact that the buildings retain some incredible architectural details and it’s a sin for them to sit vacant and blighted.
We were so excited when we saw a zoning notice on the fence next to the easternmost vacant building, thrilled by the possibility that the zoning notice might also pertain to the building. Alas, it doesn’t. The zoning notice only applies to 5047 Baltimore Ave., where developers are looking to build a mixed-use building with three apartments and ground floor retail, similar to the new building down the block. Since that project didn’t seem to hurt anyone, we’re optimistic this one will get approved by the ZBA.
A bit of silver lining though, we see that new developers have purchased the vacant building at 5049 Baltimore Ave. and the empty lot next door. This being the case, we’d think it’s likely that they’ll soon renovate the blighted building and build something new next door. We just hope they resist the temptation to demolish the existing building to construct a new building across the the two properties. It would be a shame indeed to see any of these buildings torn down. And in case you’re wondering about the two buildings to the west, they’ve been owned by the same person since 2013 and we see no active permits. Maybe someday, folks.