A joint venture led by Baltimore-based Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse Inc. has been chosen by Johns Hopkins to develop a retail, student housing and parking complex on university-owned land in Charles Village, across Charles Street from the Homewood campus.
The development, with the working name of the Charles Village Project, is tentatively scheduled for completion by the fall semester of 2005. The site is an L-shaped portion of the block north of East 33rd Street between North Charles and St. Paul streets.
Construction is expected to begin in mid-2004. Planning and design work will start after extensive consultations with the surrounding community and with Johns Hopkins students, faculty and administrators. That consultation will begin in February.
The Struever-led team, called the Collegetown Development Alliance, was chosen from among eight developers by a committee of trustees, deans and other administrators. The terms of the deal are subject to approval by the university's board of trustees.
"Johns Hopkins has been working closely for the better part of a decade with Charles Village and neighboring communities to promote a 'college town' atmosphere in the area," said James T. McGill, the university's senior vice president for finance and administration. "The Charles Village Project will be another huge step forward in that effort. It will provide the kind of shopping experience that our students and neighbors both want, the increased on-campus housing our student body needs and the off-street parking that will make it all work.
"We're delighted to be able to build the project in association with Struever Brothers, a Baltimore company, a national leader and a developer that focuses not just on building buildings but also on building communities," McGill said.
The Charles Village Project grows out of a decision several years ago to move the university's bookstore out of a hard-to-find location in the basement of Gilman Hall and into Charles Village, where it will be able to serve the community as well as Johns Hopkins students and faculty. The university later determined that zoning for the proposed bookstore site would allow for more extensive development. That opened the door for a complex that would comprehensively address both the university's and community's desires for an enhanced retail district and the university's desire to be able to accommodate more of its students in campus housing. At present, the university is able to house only a limited number of Homewood undergraduates after their sophomore year.
The project "provides an opportunity to bring the Charles Village community and the university together to improve the Hopkins experience for students and the quality of living for residents," said John Spurrier, immediate past president of the Charles Village Civic Association and a longtime neighborhood activist. "Retail development that complements rather than competes with existing businesses will result in residents making fewer trips to the suburbs."
Struever Brothers owns other property close to the Charles Village Project site. Bill Struever, president and chief executive officer of Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse Inc., said the company looks forward to working with the university and the neighborhood on a comprehensive, strategic plan for development that will put Charles Village on the map for a national audience.
"Our universities are enormous generators of ideas, talent and energy--just what Baltimore needs to grow and prosper," Struever said. "We're delighted to be part of this exciting team effort to capture this opportunity for Charles Village."
In Baltimore, Struever Brothers is best known for its adaptive reuse of historic buildings such as American Can Co. in Canton, the Bagby Furniture building east of downtown, Tide Point (the former Proctor & Gamble factory in Locust Point) and the Stieff Silver building in Hampden, where the university's Whiting School of Engineering leases space. At Johns Hopkins, Struever Brothers was general contractor for the renovation and restoration of the historic space now known as Griswold Hall, a recital hall at the Peabody Institute.
Struever Brothers' partner in Collegetown Development Alliance is Capstone Development Corp., which has developed student housing at institutions nationwide, including the University of Maryland, College Park, and Towson University.
Williams Jackson Ewing, a Baltimore-based company, is a consultant to the partnership on retail development. WJE redeveloped both Grand Central Station in New York and Union Station in Washington, and was retail developer for Sansom Common, a much-praised 1998 mixed-use project at the University of Pennsylvania that had goals similar to those of the Charles Village Project. WJE is currently redeveloping Chapel Square Mall, along a street that connects Yale University with downtown New Haven.
The structures currently on the Charles Village Project site include a university-owned house (now office space) at 3301 N. Charles St., Ivy Hall on 33rd Street and the Homewood Garage on St. Paul Street. All are expected to be demolished before construction begins.