In a move that could have great value for Hagerstown if it succeeds, Baltimore city officials are considering a consultant's suggestion to renovate old downtown office buildings into new apartments. It wouldn't be cheap, but it would bring thousands of new upper and middle-income residents to the center city.
The proposal came from the Legg Mason Realty Group, which says the number of residents living in downtown Baltimore could double to 30,000. Instead of being an area which empties out at 5 p.m., downtown Baltimore could be a thriving section of town around the clock, they say.
But it wouldn't be cheap, Legg Mason officials say, and much of the cost would have to be paid for through a combination of a property-tax freeze (for 40 years), tax-exempt financing and housing tax credits.
Of the $13.5 million it would cost to renovate a building on North Calvert Street to hold 138 apartment units, about $5.5 million would have to come from tax abatements or credits. Otherwise, Legg Mason officials said, the rent paid just won't cover the costs and the project won't get done.