By Kevin Collison
The renovation of the historic Midland Building into 135 apartments, a deal struck with the Cordish Co. in 2018 to obtain incentives for the luxury Three Light building now under construction, is expected to begin this spring.
What’s being called The Midland Lofts project is expected to be completed in mid-2024, according to John Moncke, president of the Power & Light District.
The vacant, former office building at 1221 Baltimore was included in the original Power & Light District redevelopment agreement reached 20 years ago with Baltimore-based Cordish. It’s 3,200 seat theater was renovated in 2004.
The 12-story building remained vacant however. It’s redevelopment came into play in 2018 when Cordish sought tax incentives for the $140 million Three Light apartment project nearby at the northeast corner of Truman Road and Main.
That incentive request for the 288-unit luxury tower sparked a heated debate on the City Council over the city’s ongoing obligations to Cordish under the terms of the original development agreement.
The Council ultimately approved a 25-year property tax abatement and $17.5 million in cash to build the project’s 475-space garage, but included a requirement that Cordish develop affordable housing in the Midland Building.
When the agreement was reached five years ago, the $25 million Midland project called for apartments to be affordable to people making up to 80 percent of area median income.
The current city affordable housing standard is for 20 percent of units to be reserved for people earning up to 60 percent AMI, although historic redevelopment projects receiving incentives are exempt from that requirement.
Moncke said in an email “almost” every unit in Midland Lofts project will meet the 80 percent standard.
At the time of the agreement, it was estimated units would have monthly rents of $1,100 or less with about half at $950 or less, and micro units going for $700-750. The project calls for 93 studios and 42 one bedrooms.
Each space will include a washer/dryer, custom closet organizers and quartz countertops, according to Cordish.
The Midland office building and its ornate theater were built in 1927 and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
As for the 26-story Three Light project, workers recently poured the 23rd floor and the building is scheduled to top out next month. The tower is scheduled to be completed this September and is currently 15 percent leased, according to Moncke.
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