By Kevin Collison
A slender downtown architectural beauty, the historic former Hotel Bray at 1114 Baltimore Ave., is being redeveloped as an apartment project by developer John Bennett Jr.
The nine-story building is 25-feet wide and 125 feet deep, and is wedged between the Hotel Phillips and the Italian Garden garage on Baltimore. Bennett plans to begin work on the $3.5 million project and have its 29 apartments ready for occupancy in spring 2018.
“We really like the location, it’s closer than anything we have to the Power & Light District and its a really vibrant area,” Bennett said.
The Jacobethan-style brick building, which is capped by a decorative terra cotta double gable, opened in 1915 as the Hotel Bray. In 1947, after extensive remodeling, it was rechristened the New Yorker Inn. It was renovated again in the mid 1990s as an extended stay hotel before closing.
Bennett said that later remodeling meant most of the mechanical systems are in good shape. Plans call for a new roof and elevator to be installed, and full modernization of the apartments with polished concrete floors, new kitchen appliances, granite counters, new bathrooms and air conditioning.
There will be four apartments on each floor, two, one-bedroom and two studio. He said 75 percent of the units will rent for less than $1,000 per month. The project is called The New Yorker.
“It’s more of a project focused on people getting their feet wet living downtown with more affordable units,” Bennett said.
Parking will be available at the Italian Garden garage for an additional monthly charge.
Bennett said state and federal historic tax credits are being used to help finance the project. No other tax incentives are being used. Equity Bank is providing the private financing.
The 2,300 square-foot ground floor of the building has been leased to a retail service tenant. The second floor will feature amenities for residents including a lounge, laundry facilities and storage.
Bennett also is part of a group redeveloping the historic New England building at 112 W. Ninth St. into 32 apartments. He said the building is 50 percent leased and on target for a Sept. 1 opening.
Would rather see it as a swanky boutique hotel but more residential units the better.
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