December 20, 2013 - From the Blog
For those keeping an eye on Baltimore’s real estate market, it’s no secret that rentals have become a hot commodity. This trend has been spurred, not only by the downturn of the housing market in recent years, but also by ambitious developers’ push to turn historic Downtown office buildings into cutting edge living spaces.
Stroll through Baltimore’s Business District and evidence of the residential swing is everywhere. Full shuttle stops at Johns Hopkins’ Peabody building and increased pedestrian traffic signal an increase in tenants in the area, while signs on buildings like 222 Saratoga (opened in 2004), 521 St. Paul Street (opened in 2013), and 301 North Charles Street (still under construction) beckon new lessees to their doors.
The Live Baltimore team took advantage of a recent opportunity to explore one such office-turned-apartment rehab, 300 Cathedral, developed by Broadwater Capital LLC. Join us on a virtual tour.
If you’re looking for a karmic connection to Baltimore’s philanthropic past, look no further than this previous home to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows’ Baltimore Chapter. A secret society and global altruistic organization, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows discussed social issues of the time and worked to define much of Baltimore’s charitable culture in the building’s first and second floor meeting and dining spaces, from 1891 to 1975.
300 Cathedral Street, 1931; Image Source: CharmCityHistory.com
Situated on the corner of Cathedral and Saratoga Streets, 300 Cathedral’s historic character welcomes visitors with instant charm. We swooned over intricate brickwork, patinaed copper cornices, and grand wooden windows— all preserved in the historically certified renovation.
From our first step into the lobby, the developers’ eye for design was apparent. Sky-high ceilings with glowing chandeliers create drama in the tastefully decorated entry space, where we found furnishings to be the perfect blend of masculine and feminine.
Additional common areas include a business center and fitness room that features an easy-on-the-feet rubber floor, well-spaced treadmills, and large flat screen TVs.
Moving into individual units, we had the pleasure of viewing three floor plans: a one-bedroom with a unique half-wall (designed to feature windows and welcome light) and two modern studios. While each flat included all the conveniences you’d expect from luxury city living—granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, front door washers and dryers, and upgraded bathrooms—we fell most in love with a not-yet-rented 5th floor studio.
View from 5th Floor Studio
Standing in this residence, with its arched-window views of the downtown skyline, we couldn’t help but channel our inner Carrie Bradshaws. We decorated in our heads: picturing old-meets-new, Barcelona chairs and Anthropologie-inspired accessories. And perhaps most important to city-loving fashionistas, we were blown away by the unit’s notably large walk in closet—spacious enough to house an impressive shoe collection (all Manolo’s, of course).
Property Manager, Pat Freeze, tells us the building is attracting mostly residents ages 25–35 with connections to Johns Hopkins, University of Maryland, and even MICA—with one striking exception. The building is also home to one senior female renter, whom we can only imagine is incredibly fabulous! (We’d love to see the inside of her apartment!)
When asked his feelings about working on historic properties in Baltimore, principal with developer Broadwater Capital LLC, Ahmad Hajj told us the following: “Generally, local governments do not support the re-development of office spaces into living spaces. Baltimore city has done a great job in encouraging downtown living.”
“Our goal is to offer historic buildings with modern appeal,” said Hajj. “That’s what we’re proud of.”
Based on our tour, Mr. Hajj, we’d say you’ve succeeded.
Thanks to the 300 Cathedral property and the staff at the Maryland Historic Society for assistance with this article. All images courtesy of Live Baltimore unless otherwise noted.