A century-old architectural gem in Mount Vernon will
soon become housing for those studying at Johns Hopkins.
In an effort to provide affordable housing
Peabody students, Johns Hopkins Real Estate recently
negotiated the acquisition of the Stafford Apartments, an
11-story building that will be open for occupancy by the
middle of August.
Under terms of the agreement, AIMCO, the seller of the
property and one of the largest owner/operators of
apartment communities in the United States, will lease and
manage the Stafford for the university.
The building, located at 716 N. Washington Place and
one block from the Peabody campus, features 96 one- and
two-bedroom apartments and can house approximately 140
Peabody students will get the first opportunity to
lease apartments at the Stafford, and then any apartments
still available will be open to Johns Hopkins students at
the East Baltimore and Homewood campuses. A Johns Hopkins
shuttle stops at Peabody and connects with both the medical
campus and Homewood.
Emily Frank, associate dean for student affairs at the
Peabody Institute, said that it has become increasingly
difficult for the school's students to find nearby housing,
as property values in the neighborhood continue to
increase. Frank said that recent enhancements to the
physical environment in and around Peabody, such as cleaner
streets and capital improvements made to neighboring
cultural institutions, have made the area more desirable,
and students are being slowly priced out of the market.
Peabody freshmen and sophomores, who make up more than
a quarter of the student population, are required to live
in the on-campus residence hall. The remaining 450-plus
upperclassmen and graduate students, however, do not have
Looking across Mt. Vernon Square,
the tenants of this apartment will have a clear view of
Peabody's Mt Vernon Place buildings, right. At left is the
historic Mt. Vernon Place Methodist Church, a High
Victorian Gothic structure designed in 1872.
PHOTO BY HPS/WILL KIRK
Robert Sirota, Peabody director, said that the
Stafford will provide a viable alternative for those
looking for an affordable place to live that doesn't
"With the tremendous vitality of the real estate
market in Mount Vernon, we recognized the need for
apartment housing at reasonable rental rates for older
undergraduates and graduate students," he said. "The
Stafford is ideally located and offers truly attractive
apartments, many with spectacular views, to Peabody
The Stafford Apartments had most recently served as
government-subsidized, affordable housing. Johns Hopkins'
acquisition of the property was made possible by federal
legislation, passed by Congress in August 2002, which
authorized the conversion of government-subsidized housing
to student housing. All previous tenants have been
relocated, and the building has been empty since June
Formerly known as the Stafford Hotel, the building was
constructed in 1894, designed in the Romanesque,
Richardsonian style. Its exterior features a brown Roman
brick facade, arched windows and balustrade balconies.
When it opened, the Stafford was the tallest building
in Mount Vernon and was considered the grandest hotel in
Baltimore. It was the preferred lodging for famous and
wealthy visitors to the city, among whom was F. Scott
Fitzgerald, who stayed at the hotel during a period between
1935 and 1936 while his wife, Zelda, was being treated at
the Phipps Psychiatric Clinic at The Johns Hopkins
The Stafford closed as a hotel in 1970 and was
converted to 96 apartments for low-income residents.
Currently, the building is undergoing cosmetic
improvements, which include new carpeting, paint, light
fixtures and blinds.
David McDonough, senior director of development
oversight for Johns Hopkins Real Estate and the lead
negotiator for the Stafford deal, said that the building
will undergo more extensive renovations beginning at the
end of the spring semester, at which time the building will
temporarily close. Scheduled improvements include the
installation of new fire sprinklers and upgrades to
elevators and electrical systems.
Students will move into the Stafford Apartments
sometime in mid-August, McDonough said.
One-bedroom apartments will rent for $669-$899, two
bedrooms for $889-$1,099. All apartments, which are
unfurnished, include central heat and air conditioning with
individual temperature control. Fully equipped kitchens,
some with eat-in dining areas, have frost-free
refrigerators, garbage disposals and self-cleaning ovens.
Models are currently available for viewing. To make an
appointment, contact Sabrina Carrington at 410-837-4161, or
e-mail her at
sabrina:firstname.lastname@example.org. Students may apply
online, as well as view photos and find additional
information, at AIMCO's Web site,