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New apartment complex for police officers to open in Baltimore

Guardian House, a 66-unit complex, will have reduced rents for first responders who meet certain income requirements


Officials including Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison use sledge hammers on a ceremonial wall to launch Guardian House.

Photo/Jerry Jackson of Baltimore Sun via TNS

By Giacomo Bologna
Baltimore Sun

BALTIMORE — A new apartment complex geared specifically to police officers, firefighters and other first responders is coming to downtown Baltimore.

Jon Pannoni, president of Landmark Partners, said his firm is investing roughly $25 million to transform four dilapidated buildings in the 100 block of South Gay Street into Guardian House.

The 66-unit complex will have 10,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor, Landmark Partners said in a news release, and a fifth of those apartments will have reduced rents for first responders who meet certain income requirements.

“Simply put, Guardian House will transform this long neglected and well traveled corridor of downtown Baltimore,” Pannoni told onlookers at a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday morning. “A key motive for Guardian House and the basis for its name is that public safety is best achieved when those who police — and other first responders who serve others at the most critical times — live and grow in the community they’re a part of.”

Pannoni said designers got input from first responders on amenities for the building, which include secure gear lockers and a wellness center.

“Guardian House will offer a compelling proposition for first responders and anyone else who desires a high-quality residential experience,” Pannoni said.

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The buildings are just around the corner from the Baltimore Police headquarters building on East Baltimore Street.

The renovation will keep the buildings’ facades intact, Pannoni said, and the development will benefit from the city’s historic preservation tax credit, which he said “certainly makes it a more advantageous project for us.” For developments like Guardian House, the historic preservation tax credit cuts property taxes by 80% for five years and declines in 10% increments each year thereafter.

The Baltimore Development Corp. selected Landmark Partners’ bid to take on this project in 2018, according to the news release. The lead contractor on the project is Bozzuto. Several business and political officials attended Wednesday morning’s groundbreaking ceremony, including Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison.

“The Guardian House, what a name,” Harrison said. “It speaks to the need to have a mentality that builds trust and legitimacy in protecting our citizens and our city; building relationships, which is exactly what community-based policing is all about.”

Harrison said the police department offers $1,000 a month in housing assistance to employees if they live within the city limits of Baltimore. According to Harrison, that means the starting salary for a Baltimore police officer is higher than any other department in the state.

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