Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Building

DATE: 2009
LOCATION: Baltimore, Maryland, USA
OLD USE: Brewery
NEW USE: Nonprofit headquarters


History

The American Brewery was built in 1887 and includes the Brewhouse and Bottle Building. The brewery shut down operations in 1973. The building then turned over to the City of Baltimore in 1977. It had since been left vacant and deteriorating until 2005.

(Re)Developer

The adaptive reuse was led by Humanim, a 35-year old Maryland-based social and human services provider that has delivered programs and services in East Baltimore for the last 20 years, that was looking for a new headquarters location. They teamed up with developer Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse. Funding was provided by National Trust Community Investment Corporation and the National Trust Loan Fund.[1]

Outcome

Despite the recession, the adaptive reuse project (16 months) has been a success and is a shining beacon of hope in East Baltimore.

Humanim sees the widespread blight in East Baltimore as an opportunity more than anything else. As Truitt put it, “Part of what we’ve done for 35-plus years is take risks to provide services where they’re lacking.” Looked at from that perspective, the East Baltimore location has multiple advantages. Humanim expects the building to house 250 employees, and they’ve committed to hiring from within the community. Furthermore, they’ll be providing services where they’re most needed—they hope to serve 1,300 people in the Brewery building’s first year. Right now they’re engaging in focus groups with community merchants to figure out exactly what local businesses need… so they can train people to provide it.[2]

The Brewhouse will house Humanim’s offices and the Bottle Building, a 60,000 square foot 1937 industrial building will be converted into a center for organizations working in community arts, community services and small business development. The redevelopment of the Brewhouse and Bottle Building is critical to the revitalization of the East Baltimore neighborhood of Broadway East. When completed, the buildings along with the already completed Cole Higgs Center will become an important hub of activity in the community – generating jobs and providing much-needed social services – while also sparking additional investment.[3]

[1]The National Trust for Historic Preservation
[2]Baltimore Grows
[3]Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse

Images courtesy of The Baltimore Sun.