My previous blog discussed the chronic undercrowding in the City of Baltimore and the current plans to reverse it by charming homebuyers with reduced property tax rates. The City has also been charming developers of the once abandoned stone mills clustered around Jones Falls. The lure is still tax related, but this time in the form of Planned Unit Developments and new market tax credits. A lot has changed since the nineteenth century when the mills were occupied by prominent cotton duck, model train, and rubber manufacturers taking advantage of the flowing waters of the Woodberry area.
These mills offer up a lot of what urban planners would hope for in a city. The mills are in a transit-oriented, walkable, and niche neighborhood situated near two major public green spaces: Druid Hill Lake Park to the west and Wyman Park to the east. Let’s also not forget the local Union Craft Brewery located next to the light rail tracks, and a close neighbor to the mills. Despite transit access, residents in the area had concerns of increased traffic around the mills, but I had an incredibly easy drive into the area on a recent Saturday. This is despite road work closing off one lane and it being the first warm day in the city following a string of snow storms.
While taking photographs near the Clipper and Meadow Mills, a girl who’d just hopped off the Woodberry light rail stop paused to ask me for directions to the popular Artifact Coffee and Woodberry Kitchen. Artifact Coffee is marked with a simple sign with the letter “A” and is part of Union Mill. Woodberry Kitchen is a highly rated restaurant located at Clipper Mill, a quick walk under the bridge and over the light rail tracks from Artifact Coffee; both are projects of the same locavore and restaurateur, Spike Gjerde.
So, with all of these great urban amenities, it seems that the mills are set for success, and with plans to add more public transit and metro lines to the city, I’m curious to see if more industrial sites will be transformed into modern homes and offices for future Baltimoreans.
Do exposed brick, industrial yet green design elements, and public transit access entice you to move to Baltimore?
Credits: Images by Jade Clayton. Data linked to sources.