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A New Canvas for Baltimore: Food Hub Approaches Development Milestone

In September 2016, the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development joined with partners from the private and public sectors for a groundbreaking for the Baltimore Food Hub. Developed by American Communities Trust, the Baltimore Food Hub has the potential to help revitalize Baltimore’s Broadway East neighborhood and provide new opportunities for its residents.

At the September groundbreaking, the Secretary Kenneth C. Holt stated, “The State of Maryland is proud to partner with the American Communities Trust to support the Baltimore Food Hub. This ambitious project creates a central location for food-related education, production and innovation, helping to positively transform Baltimore City by creating jobs and economic opportunity in the Broadway East neighborhood and surrounding communities”.

The Food Hub is approaching another milestone with the completion of an 8,000 square foot, shared-use commercial kitchen designed to support small businesses by providing professional kitchen space and technical resources to established and emerging food entrepreneurs in Baltimore.  City Seeds, a social enterprise of Baltimore-based nonprofit Humanim, will run the teaching and commercial production kitchens for their catering business and School of Food.

The commercial kitchen, expected to be completed in July 2017,  is one element in the planned adaptive reuse of the former Baltimore City Water Works Pumping and Repair Station, at the corner of East Oliver and North Wolfe streets. The 3.5 acre multi-building campus will also feature 2,500 square feet for hoop houses; two flexible-use buildings for manufacturing, storage or preparation; and an office space for food-related businesses.

Much of the site will be open to the public, transforming this long vacant property into a community asset with open space, valuable learning opportunities and a new source for fresh, local and healthy food for the residents of Baltimore and beyond.  The site is already bustling with activity as construction of the commercial kitchen is well underway along with stabilization and renovation of historic buildings. The completed development will create new jobs, offer educational opportunities to East Broadway residents, foster microenterprise and feature adaptive reuse of historic properties all with a single 3.5 acre campus.  Students will be able to visit the site to learn more about urban agriculture and about their food and where it comes from. There will also be a market that operates year-round on the premises.

The State of Maryland has provided $3.3 million for the Food Hub through the Department’s Neighborhood Revitalization (Community Legacy and Strategic Demolition) and Business Lending Programs (Neighborhood BusinessWorks), combined with direct assistance allocated through the governor’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget.

Federal partners include the U.S. Economic Development Administration and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Nonprofit and private partners include Humanim, Historic East Baltimore Community Action Coalition, the New Broadway East Community Association, J.S. Plank & D.M. DiCarlo Family Foundation, Abell Foundation, France-Merrick Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Johns Hopkins University, Goldseker Foundation, The Reinvestment Fund, Ziger Snead, STV, Kaliber Construction, and Ballard Spahr.

“A New Canvas for Baltimore” is a regular series covering Project C.O.R.E. (Creating Opportunities for Renewal and Enterprise). Project C.O.R.E. will clear the way for new green space, new affordable and mixed use housing, and new opportunities for small business owners in Baltimore City. The initiative will generate jobs, strengthen the partnership between the City of Baltimore and the State of Maryland and lead to safer, healthier and more attractive communities. For more information on Project C.O.R.E., visit http://dhcd.maryland.gov/ProjectCORE/.