Well, the Alex Cooper signs have finally been posted. The buildings on the corner of North Charles and Lexington Street are up for auction. These buildings are our neighbors, we think they are handsome, and we think their facades are an important part of city center, Charles Center.
The key property, a handsome piece of 1890 architecture, is the former Central Savings Bank Building.
The auction package includes:
113 N Charles Street,
1 E Lexington Street, and
5 E Lexington Street.
Here are the listing details from Alex Cooper:
1 E. Lexington Street
(2nd & 3rd Floors connect with 5 E. Lexington)
25,439 +/- SF 5 story building 22,000+/- SF leasable area the building currently has rental income with flexible leases Lot size is 0.11+/- acres 1st Floor offers 4,000 +/- SF of prime retail space, ideal for a Restaurant/Bar. One of the most unique spaces in Baltimore. Formerly the flagship location of Central Savings Bank. Interior features marble walls, 20 +/- foot ceilings and original walk-in safe.
5 E. Lexington Street
(2nd & 3rd Floors connect with 1 E. Lexington)
5,900 +/- SF 3 story building. Building currently is vacant on 1st floor with office tenant on 2nd floor (connected to 3rd floor of 1 E. Lexington)Lot size is 0.06 +/- acres. Building features early 1900's architecture. Potential for building to be free-standing. Lease pending for 1st floor of building.
113 N. Charles Street
5,544 +/- SF 4 story building. Building is currently leased by Baltimore Gold. Lot size is 0.03 acres.
Jacob and I live on N Charles Street, we are committed urban dwellers, and we like "living above the store." However, over the past 6 years or so the vibrancy of Baltimore's North Charles Street corridor has tragically declined. The Historic Charles Street Association has gone through two Executive Directors since 2006 and is looking for its third.
Empty buildings and storefronts abound on Charles Street and no amount of street-scape vinyl stickers will hide that fact. No amount of promises, in print or in display visuals, will hide the fact that nothing has happened with the Morris Mechanic Theatre building since it ceased operation in 2004. As buildings such as John M. Johansen's Brutalist Mechanic Theatre remain vacant for what will soon be a decade, Baltimore becomes a less interesting, less attractive, less architectural city.
The mid-rise building at 301 North Charles Street has been vacant for, I believe, over 5 years.
301 N Charles is beginning to look like a building portrayed in the History Channel's series, Life After People.
Some of the window glass in the 301 building is broken out, casements are corroding, plants that were left behind by former tenants have rooted deeply, are growing, and weakening the masonry. Rain, wind, and snow inundate the building.
The magnificent Fidelity Trust Company building, just across the corner from the Central Savings Bank building, has been empty for years. Walking up Charles Street from the Inner Harbor toward North Avenue is getting downright depressing. Panhandlers are on the increase and foot-traffic, evenings and weekends, is almost nonexistent.
What's to be done, Baltimore? What's to be done?
[To be continued...]