By Melody SimmonsReporter, Baltimore Business Journal
Developers Dan Bythewood, Jr. and Ian Arias share a laugh inside the Center\West apartment complex in May.
Center West is set to officially open in September as the first tenants move into hundreds of new apartment units in Poppleton.
Pre-leasing will begin in August at 101 and 201 N. Schroeder St. near the University of Maryland BioPark, the developer said on Friday. Workers continued to put the finishing touches on the modern pair of buildings that are changing the landscape near Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Route 40.
“We have more people on the ‘VIP’ wait list than we have units,” said said Daniel Bythewood Jr., president of New York-based La Cite Development LLC of the $800 million project, of the interest so far.
The 32-acre development aims to hold a total of 1,600 residential units with a goal of adding up to 400 new units to the site each year. In total, Bythewood said plans call for a total of 3.2 million square feet of residential and commercial space to be built over the coming decade on property that for years has been pockmarked with vacancy and blight.
Center West has been in the works for 14 years, with several fits and starts based on financing and bureaucratic delays.
But it is coming of age during a larger renaissance on the city’s westside that includes a redevelopment of the Hollins Market by War Horse Cities CDC and other new housing starts. A redevelopment of the Western District police district last year also added to the new cache in the community as did the conversion of the once vacant Lyon Brothers Building at 875 Hollins St. into office space.
“We’re very optimistic on the West Baltimore market due to the growing demand,” Bythewood said.
Center West broke ground in early January 2017 and Bythewood said the next step is to add a big-box retail and entertainment complex to the site off of Mulberry Street.
He said last week that lease negotiations were still underway, but the talks center on a grocery store, gym, movie theater and other retail.
“That is our next push,” he said.