Architect Jerome Gray Preston Street.  (Fern Shen) Hendler Creamery Co.  building at 1100 East Baltimore Street.  American Sugar Refinery, Domino Sugar tank car, Hughes Company, 1955, PP30-144-51, MdHS.

For critics who decry the state of historic preservation in Baltimore, Hendler Creamery is Exhibit A | Baltimore Brew

The sensible cash now says the Hendler Creamery Constructing, at 1100 East Baltimore Avenue, will be part of the record of nice outdated metropolis landmarks that ought to have been preserved however weren’t.

Not less than two persons are not giving up on the 131-year-old architectural gem and have formally challenged a current vote to permit demolition, citing mysteriously deleted footage of the March 14 assembly video and different obvious irregularities.

Whether or not their attraction stands or falls, the Hendler property provides critics a recent instance of what they are saying is improper with historic preservation in Baltimore.

I am unsure it might have been dealt with any worse, says architect Jerome Grey.

Grey, whose in style Instagram web page showcases his sketches and watercolors of buildings in Baltimore, is aware of quite a bit about Hendler’s architectural and cultural significance.

I might speak to you about that for hours, he warns, solely half joking.

Architect Jerome Grey exterior the townhouses on Preston Avenue in Mount Vernon that he and others pushed the town to save lots of final yr. (Fern Shen)

A lot historical past

Grey begins by naming architect Jackson C. Gott, who designed the three-story Richardsonian Romanesque constructing positioned within the traditionally wealthy Jonestown neighborhood.

Like different buildings that started as steam-powered cable vehicles, Hendler needed to evolve into different makes use of after the appearance of electrical carriages, Grey defined.

From 1903 to 1912 it was a theater launched by impresario James Lawrence Kernan. There was an auditorium on the second ground that confirmed a few of the metropolis’s earliest movies.

Catering to the areas largely Jewish immigrant inhabitants, the theater was a venue for vaudeville, performs and different reveals carried out in Yiddish.

Then in 1912 got here the constructing’s third and most well-known use: dwelling to the Hendler Creamery Firm, the nation’s first totally automated ice cream manufacturing facility.

You could possibly be taught a lot. You could possibly discuss this nice product that was in some ways developed right here, Grey stated, lamenting the lack of a constructing that incorporates a number of layers of native historical past in transportation, artwork and trade.

As soon as it is gone, it is going to solely sit within the heads of historians or in books, he lamented. There can be no bodily manifestation of it.

Hendler Creamery Co.  building at 1100 East Baltimore Street.  American Sugar Refinery, Domino Sugar tank car, Hughes Company, 1955, PP30-144-51, MdHS.

A Domino Sugar truck backs into the Hendler Creamery loading dock on East Baltimore Avenue in 1955. (Hughes Firm, PP30-144-51, MdHS.)

An formidable plan. . .

The ice cream operation ceased within the Nineteen Seventies. However the fortress-like constructing, which had churned vanilla, chocolate and ice cream manufacturers like eggnog flavored with actual rum, was nonetheless structurally sound 30 years later.

So stated the Maryland Historic Belief, within the strategy of getting Hendler listed on the US Nationwide Register of Historic Locations.

The buildings at 1100 East Baltimore Avenue are in good situation, except some roof leaks within the 1892 constructing, in accordance with the Belief’s 2007 submitting.

5 years after that, when Kevin Johnson’s Industrial Group acquired the property, it appeared on satellite tv for pc photos to be an intact construction with a roof.

Johnson’s firm, based mostly in suburban Hanover, promised to rework the constructing into The Hendler, a $75 million, six-level condominium undertaking with underground parking and an upscale Harbor East really feel.

The plans referred to as for the 1892 creamery to be retained, however its gabled roof to get replaced with a glazed terrace stage with 12 residential models.

Hendler Creamery construction site prior to 2018 demolition of Commercial.  (Google StreetView)

OVER: The Hendler website, between Fayette Avenue and Baltimore Avenue, earlier than Industrial’s 2018 demolition work. BELOW: One of many builders’ idea drawings for The Hendler. (Google Avenue View,

One of the schemes for

. . . It by no means occurred

However over the following decade, and regardless of an introduced downsizing to cheaper workforce housing, nothing was ever constructed.

A whos who of the town’s decision-makers supplied enthusiastic assist throughout these years because the plans remained on paper and the constructing itself went downhill.

The Baltimore Improvement Company (BDC), for instance, voted in 2013 to promote a city-owned warehouse on the website valued at $455,000 to Industrial for no cash down.

A dynamic housing undertaking, declared then-BDC President William H. Cole IV when the Board of Estimates accredited the switch of the warehouse and different parcels to the corporate.

Officers stated the Commercials undertaking would improve a historic space already getting a lift from new entities just like the Ronald McDonald Home and the Nationwide Aquarium’s Animal Care and Rescue Middle.

The redevelopment of the Hendler Creamery into market-rate housing with retail house continues the momentum of realizing the neighborhood’s full potential, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake introduced in a 2015 information launch.

Wanting again, Grey stated, their pondering made sense.

For those who activated this and different buildings within the space, they could possibly be an actual anchor for the neighborhood, he stated. They may put folks on the bottom there 24 hours a day.

The Hendler Creamery Building, shown after its owner removed a wall and roof, sits in the middle of Baltimore's historic Jonestown neighborhood.  (Google Earth)

Seen after the Industrial Group eliminated the east wall and uncovered the roof, the Hendler Constructing sits in the midst of the historic Jonestown neighborhood. (Google Earth)

Tag eliminated

It was in 2015, the yr when an much more decisive approval occurred.

Industrial acquired the inexperienced gentle from the Fee for Historic and Architectural Preservation (CHAP) for a revised idea plan.

It concerned the demolition of not solely the warehouse and different close by non-historic buildings, however all the east wall of the principle constructing in addition to the inside.

The commissioners subsequently additionally accredited the demolition of all the roof.

The Hendler building facade is braced on the spot, where the developer's plans have been stalled since last year.  (Ed Guntz)

The braced north facade of the Hendler constructing, surrounded by building particles, in 2019. (Ed Gunts)

Demolition moved ahead in 2018. Metal bracing beams had been leaning towards the outside of the historic facades.

After that, the work stopped utterly.

The fenced off website turned a large number of rubble, building waste and deserted instruments and tools. Leaders of neighboring establishments, together with the Jewish Museum of Maryland and the McKim Middle, expressed dismay and concern to no avail.

After unsuccessfully attempting to get a solution concerning the undertaking standingThe each day report famous that Johnson has not served as lead developer on a undertaking of the dimensions and scope of the creamery overhaul.

The brewerywho has adopted the speedy rise of his drywall firm, tried to succeed in Johnson for this story and in addition didn’t obtain a response.

CEO Kevin Johnson describes himself on the Commercial Group website as

Developer Kevin Johnson describes himself on his firm’s web site as a artistic artist masquerading as an entrepreneur. (

Demolition by neglect

Quick ahead 5 years of inaction from Johnson and the town.

It was an enormous effort to develop the property, CHAP Government Director Eric Holcomb stated final month, shortly summarizing the Hendler saga for the commissioners. It did not occur.

Now that the constructing has deteriorated past restore, Holcomb continued that permission ought to be granted to demolish.

Holcomb based mostly that suggestion on a conclusion by the engineer for the contract purchaser, Serving to Up Mission, that the constructing couldn’t be saved. (As a part of the lacking video footage of the CHAP assembly, the precise testimony of the engineers will not be accessible.)

Commissioners voted 8-3 in favor of demolition, a prospect that leaves architect Grey reeling.

“It is horrible to see it go from being empty and fixable, to then let it rot for 3 or 4 years after which say it is not structurally sound,” he stated.

Kathleen Kotarba, who retired as CHAP’s government director in 2014, stated she does not know the precise circumstances of this case however sees a troubling sample.

You’ve got a sequence of tasks that seem like they will be fantastic and folks say it’ll be nice and folks get all enthusiastic about it and it simply does not occur. It appears that is taking place now with an excessive amount of frequency.

A mechanism must be in place, Kotarba stated, to provide metropolis authorities the leverage to ensure builders preserve their guarantees.

The town might request {that a} bond be issued. If they do not carry out as promised, they default, she stated.

For former CHAP worker Fred Shoken, it is all about management.

It was that the town would take decisive motion, Shoken stated, citing using code enforcement, the ability of eminent area and, again within the Nineteen Eighties, stern personal telephone calls from then-Mayor William Donald Schaefer.

These powers are nonetheless there. If the town had balls, it could say to an proprietor: Your property is a blight, was to get entangled.

Donna Beth Joy Shapiro and Fred Shoken on Baltimore Street outside the Hendler Creamery Building.  (Fern Shen)

Donna Beth Pleasure Shapiro and Fred Shoken on Baltimore Avenue exterior the Hendler Creamery Constructing. (Fern Shen)

Worth level

However are preservationists and Schaefer-style activism ignoring the issue that preserving outdated buildings will be financially unfeasible for personal builders?

Kotarba has a fast reply to what she sees as a short-sighted and slim concern: Nobody ever comes again later and says they remorse saving one thing.

If not for preservationists, she famous, Mount Vernon Place could be gone. Metropolis Corridor could be gone. Camden Yards could be gone.

Architect Craig Purcell says cash will at all times be the problem.

Builders are all about effectivity and squeezing each penny. They can not simply make cash with an enormous historic constructing with large rooms, he stated.

And but we appear to have grow to be demolition-happy, he continued. I imply, what’s Baltimore if we do not have historic properties?

Detail from a front view of the Hendler Creamery building last month.  (Fern Shen)

Element from the East Baltimore Avenue entrance wall of the Hendler Constructing nonetheless standing. (Fern Shen)

Success throughout the road

For Grey, paying a premium to save lots of a cultural treasure is value it.

It isn’t like this cannot be carried out in Baltimore, he stated, citing East Baltimore’s restored and repurposed Hoen and American Brewery buildings.

Or Westside’s Mayfair Theatre, whose facade is being integrated into a brand new constructing, a so-called facade-ectomy.

After we discuss profitable facade ectomies, there’s one which’s in an ironic location: The Serving to Up Mission’s headquarters proper throughout the road from the Hendler property, says preservation lawyer Donna Beth Pleasure Shapiro.

In 2009, the nonprofit proudly salvaged the weathered facade of its headquarters constructing on East Baltimore Avenue as a part of a historic renovation reviewed and accredited by CHAP.

Now, the identical nonprofit desires one other CHAP approval for its plans for a historic property. However this time, Serving to Up, which plans to show the property into inexperienced house, says all the historic construction should come down.

This tells you a constructing like this might be saved, they did it themselves, Shapiro stated.

That is it, I’ve mine, however you possibly can’t have your mentality, it is the peak of hypocrisy.

Above is the buttressed facade of the Helping Up Mission building on East Baltimore Street, salvaged as part of the renovation.  Below, 14 years later, stands the now-supported front of the Hendler building across the street, which Helping Up wants to buy but says is beyond repair and must be torn down.  (Courtesy Fred Shoken)

OVER: The supported facade of the Serving to Up Missions constructing in 2009, which was saved as a part of the mission renovation. BELOW: The buttressed entrance of the Hendler constructing throughout the road that Serving to Up desires to tear down. (Courtesy of Fred Shoken)

Coming PART 2: A have a look at Baltimore’s planning and preservation failures.

Author: ZeroToHero

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