The Bainbridge Companies have started work on a $66-million project that will bring an eight-story, 600 ft.-long, 224-unit apartment building to the 1100 block of Key Hwy. Federal Hill. The long-vacant lot sits between Key Hwy. and Covington St. It is located across the street from Digital Harbor High School (DHHS) and adjacent to E. Cross St. and CrossFit Federal Hill. Bainbridge does not own the small corner piece of land at E. Cross St. and Key Hwy.
The last evidence of a building on the property was seen in historical pictures from the early 1900s. A thin brick building stood across from the Bethlehem Steel ship repair yard that is now the site of HarborView.
The new building will include a third-story courtyard and pool facing Key Hwy., a gym, a club room, a cyber café, and a rooftop deck. The building will have a three-story, 227-space parking garage. The garage will be covered by the building facing Key Hwy., but will rise one floor above Covington St., which is 20 ft. higher than the base of the building. This level of parking will be covered with screening and landscaping. The parking garage will have two entrances on Covington St. and one on Key Hwy.
The exterior of the building will feature masonry, brick, hardy board, and different shades of gray. The perimeter of the building will have landscaping, and apartments facing the ground floor of Key Hwy. will be “townhouse-style” units with front stoops and gardens. Some of the units will have balconies.
The building will have two lobbies, one on Key Hwy. and one on Covington St. The design will also likely include a large mural visible from Key Hwy. that could illustrate the area’s industrial history.
At a 2015 Urban Design & Architecture Review Panel (UDARP) hearing at the Baltimore City Planning Department, panelists expressed concerns about the building blocking the views of DHHS. In response, Bainbridge scaled back the northwest corner of the building at E. Cross St. and Covington St. to allow for improved northern views from the school.
Beret Dickson of Hord Coplan Macht is the lead architect on the project and Michael Casey of Kimley Horn is the landscape architect.
Bainbridge is expecting a 20-month construction timeline, but noted that the exterior will be completed several months earlier.
In March 2014, Phoenix-based Alliance Residential Company originally proposed a 305-unit apartment building. Bainbridge took over the project in 2015 with a scaled-down building. Bainbridge walked away from the project, but decided to come back about six months ago.
Bainbridge Senior Development Vice President Alex Barroso said the decision was based on seeing a lot of activity in the Baltimore apartment market. When asked in May if the apartment market and construction in Baltimore is over saturated, Barroso said “no.”
This is Bainbridge’s first project in Baltimore. It manages approximately 25,000 units in areas such as the Washington D.C. and central Florida.