- Address: 1505 Eutaw Pl, Baltimore, MD, 21217
Somerset Development Company, LLC and The Memorial Apartments Corporation (MAC) have partnered to acquire, renovate and transform the former Empowerment Temple, located at 1505 Eutaw Place, into a Center for Community Arts, Education and Job-Training which will bring neighbors from the surrounding communities together in Central West Baltimore (Bolton Hill, Madison Park, and Upton) through cultural and educational activities, and job-training programs. The Union Hall will provide a venue for local theater and musical events, art exhibits, catered events and similar community-oriented activities. The building was originally built in 1964 as the Union Hall for Amalgamated Clothing & Textile Workers and, until several years ago, the Empowerment Temple Church ran community programs out of the building. The building has approximately 30,000 square feet on three levels.
In recent years, the building has declined rapidly due to deferred maintenance and is in dire need of repair. With a commercial kitchen and a large banquet hall on the lower level, the intent is to create a culinary arts job-training program which will provide a real world experience for those seeking employment in the restaurant industry. In addition, the building’s theater space can provide a venue for local theater groups in need of affordable, flexible space. The Union Hall, which will operate on a non-profit basis, is meant to break down barriers that have traditionally divided the community and to build a healthy, safe neighborhood for all, by providing working spaces for organizations offering programs beneficial to the community.
MAC, a 501c3, in conjunction with Somerset, a mission-driven for-profit firm, acquired the building in January 2019. MAC and Somerset have successfully partnered on the redevelopment of Linden Park Apartments (formerly the Memorial Apartments), preserving 266 units of affordable, senior housing just across Jordan Street from Union Hall on McMechen Street. The partnership transformed the once aging building into a state-of-the-art senior apartment building, rich in amenities and resident services. In addition, the partnership sub-divided the original Linden Park site in order to build a new construction project called “The Jordan”. When complete in May 2019, it will provide 62 units of market rate apartments with a ground floor restaurant called “The Tilted Row”, realizing two visions of the HUD Choice Neighborhoods planning process by creating mixed income housing and increasing access to retail. The Jordan, at the corner of Eutaw Place and McMechen Street, is also immediately contiguous to the Union Hall.
The Union Hall partnership has hired the architecture firm of Ziger Snead and the construction firm of Kinsley Construction to stabilize the building, provide floor plans, and work with the team to identify future needs and costs of a complete renovation of the building.
In the short term, the Union Hall partnership is seeking qualified non-profits as tenants in the building, either as leaseholders or as subscribing members in need of space on an occasional but regular basis. It is expected that rents will be below market and that prospective tenants ideally will be able contribute to the costs of fitting-out their spaces. To date, interest in the mission of the Union Hall and the use of the space has been extremely positive. To that end, the Union Hall is asking for Letters of Interest from potential tenants—with no obligation at this point—which will help in identifying additional resources to complete the renovations. In particular, we are seeking interested non-profits who have experience and resources to run a culinary arts program; theater groups who need a venue to perform on a shared space basis with a below market rental fee; and non-profit organizations who need office and/or training spaces on a permanent basis or rotating basis.