The fencing and concrete barriers are in place, the
heavy haulers at the ready. The planning and preparation
period is over, and work is under way on a new facility
that will bolster housing options for Johns Hopkins
students and foster a more college town-like atmosphere in
Next week, demolition work begins for Charles Commons,
the Johns Hopkins University-owned mixed-use complex
located on the L-shaped portion of the block north of East
33rd Street, between North Charles and St. Paul streets.
Two Baltimore architectural firms, Ayers Saint Gross
and Design Collective, were selected to design the project.
Ayers Saint Gross was responsible for the project's master
plan and the buildings' facades; Design Collective designed
the interiors of the student housing.
The facility, scheduled for completion by summer 2006,
will house 618 students, a branch of the Johns Hopkins
Federal Credit Union and a full-service Barnes & Noble
bookstore open to the public. The project is being
developed by a Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse-led team
called the Collegetown Development Alliance.
The complex includes two student-housing buildings
linked by a walkway/bridge over Lovegrove Street. The
12-story Charles Street building will have 100,000 square
feet of space and feature ground-floor retail facing 33rd
Street. The St. Paul Street building will be 10 floors with
203,000 square feet of space, including a student dining
facility and the two-story bookstore, which will sell
magazines, CDs and sundries as well as textbooks and
popular books. It also will have a coffee shop. The store
will be triple the size of the existing Barnes & Noble,
located in the basement of Homewood's Gilman Hall.
The facility's design includes ample amenity space for
interaction, study and recreational interests. Common space
includes a lounge and reading room, game room, multipurpose
room, exercise room, music rooms, computer cluster, common
kitchens, small group study/conference rooms and a laundry
Each floor will feature one or two generous lounges.
Designed for upperclassmen, all the rooms are singles
grouped in suites of two or four students. The four-person
suites have two bathrooms and a living room. Two-person
suites have one bathroom, and some will feature a living
room. All the suites have kitchenettes with stovetop
burners, a sink and a refrigerator.
Susan Boswell, dean of
student life, said that while the addition of new student
housing is important and meets a demand, the university's
goal is to create something that is much more than a
"We are hoping that this new facility will become a
hub for undergraduate activity on the east side of Charles
Street. The dining/common space is designed not only to
provide a place to eat but a place to meet up with others,
shoot a quick game of pool or enjoy live entertainment from
the built-in stage," Boswell said. "We envision it becoming
the late-night hangout that does not currently exist. It
will add a much-needed dimension to student life at
The structures currently on the Charles Commons site
include a university-owned house at 3301 N. Charles St.,
Ivy Hall on 33rd Street and the Homewood Garage on St. Paul
Street. All will be demolished.
Dominic Wiker, a development director for Struever
Bros., said that demolition work will take roughly two and
a half months. Foundation work will begin sometime in
October. The Charles Street building will start going up in
December, he said, and work on the St. Paul Street building
will begin in February 2005.
Wiker said that the neighborhood can expect
single-lane closings on St. Paul and 33rd streets during
the lion's share of the construction period in order to
accommodate equipment and vehicles.
In addition to Charles Commons, Struever Bros. will
redevelop the east and west sides of the 3200 block of St.
Paul Street with ground-floor retail, upper-floor
condominiums and structured parking. Site work and
demolition on the east site is scheduled to begin toward
the end of 2004; west side site work is scheduled for the
early part of 2005.
"There will also be some noise and dust for the better
part of the next two years, but the end result will have a
very positive impact on the community," he said. "This is
the realization of a lot of hard work. This project will
bring an important retail anchor to Charles Village and
provide additional student housing to Johns Hopkins to
better supply demand."
For more information on the projects, go to