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Remington

About

Remington is an emerging urban community where families are putting down permanent roots and small business owners are opening new shops. The rehabilitation of Miller's Court, in which a former manufacturing plant was converted into affordable homes for teachers and working space for nonprofits, helped spark the transformation. Nearby home sales went up and crime went down. Miller's Court spawned Miller's Square, 30 vacant row homes converted into new homes marketed first to Miller's Court residents. One of Remington's principal developers, Seawall Development Co., is poised to redevelop three more blocks into mixed-use residential, retail and nonprofit space.

Affordability

With the flexible financing from Enterprise’s New Markets Tax Credit investment, Miller’s Court offers below-market rents to teachers. The neighborhood’s for-sale homes continue to be more affordable than many other emerging neighborhoods in Baltimore, helping preserve the area for its original residents.

Access to Transit

Numerous bus stops are available in Remington. Light rail and train services are located within one mile of the neighborhood. Remington is a walkable area with a growing number of retail and dining options. Adjacent neighborhoods offer additional amenities.

Baltimore

Affordability and transit options are among the many amenities that make Remington one of Baltimore's emerging neighborhoods.

Baltimore

The rehabilitation of Miller's Court into affordable homes for Baltimore City teachers helped spark the turnaround of Remington.

Enterprise's role

Enterprise approved $1.3 million of a larger $3.5 million loan to help Seawall Development Co. acquire nine Remington properties with an eventual goal of converting them into residential, office and retail space. The financing follows an earlier investment of $9.4 million in New Markets Tax Credit allocations to create affordable homes for teachers in Miller's Court. Enterprise's ongoing commitment supports the continued revitalization of the Remington community.

Partners

City of Baltimore; Seawall Development Co.; State of Maryland; SunTrust CDE; U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation

Putting Down Permanent Roots

Wearing silver booties and a pink hat with rolly eyes, 3-month-old Mirus is Kenny and Sarah Rogers' first child. Mirus, which means miracle in Latin, was born in the Remington neighborhood of Baltimore. Her parents moved to the city in 2010 to pursue careers in education. After joining the Baltimore Teaching Residency, a program that helps train potential educators, Kenny secured a job teaching while Sarah completed her master's degree.

Their first year was tough: a new city, new job and their first year being married. Remington was still in a period of transition. A police helicopter hovered over the neighborhood shortly after they moved into their apartment. They laugh about it now, but it gave Sarah pause at the time. "I was a little intimidated. I wasn't used to living in an urban environment."

The couple credits their apartment at Miller's Court with easing their transition. Known as the "Teacher's Building," Miller's Court provides affordable rental homes to educators working in the city. "It was the reason that first year was doable," Sarah says. There was a courtyard with a grill and a fire pit where they made friends with their neighbors. They describe their former home with its exposed brick and wood with nostalgia: "We used the old rafters as our book shelves. The second room was a quaint little study," says Kenny.

"It was the first nice apartment that we lived in."

When they heard that other residents were talking to Seawall, Miller's Court developer, about rehabbing vacant houses and creating permanent homes in Remington, the Rogers jumped at the chance. They participated in focus groups with Seawall to help design the homes.

Kenny and Sarah bought and moved in to their home in Remington in the summer of 2013. They already know all their neighbors and talk about "Ms. Dolores," who's lived on the block for years and made sure to welcome the couple when they first considered the house.

The Rogers have already taken Mirus to the Baltimore Museum of Art just up the street and have plans to take her to a nearby park. Along with teaching full-time and writing sci-fi novels, Kenny takes classes at Johns Hopkins University while Sarah has fallen in love with her students in her first year teaching full-time.

Sarah says they are grateful for the opportunity to build their family here.

"We love the feel of the neighborhood. Everyone is very close. We just love Baltimore."

Redeveloping as Neighbors, Not Guests

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When he was just out of college, Seawall co-founder Thibault Manekin travelled to South Africa to launch a program that would use sports to unite kids of different races. The idea: shooting hoops together could mend conflict. The program was a success, attracting the support of Nelson Mandela's foundation and becoming an international venture.

Thibault says it was less about his program and more about channeling a collective willpower. He puts it this way, paraphrasing Victor Hugo: "The most powerful thing in the world is an idea whose time has come."

The unique perspective is representative of Seawall's approach to real estate. The developer has become synonymous with the turnaround of Remington, a Baltimore neighborhood shedding an image of boarded-up rowhomes for a community of families, small businesses, community gardens and local theater.

"We don't see any of this as our idea," Thibault Manekin says, crediting the community and partners with helping envision and implement the plans.

Seawall's first project in Remington, Miller's Court, was not only the starting point, it was the tipping point. Seawall converted the former tin box manufacturing plant into affordable apartments for city teachers and office space for nonprofits. The building's renaissance sparked an immediate change. As soon as the project was announced, nearby neighbors started planting flowers, foot traffic increased and alleys became cleaner. Now there is a waiting list of 20 nonprofits and several hundred teachers. Nearby home sales have increased 40 percent while total crime in the area has dropped 17 percent.

Thibault credits Enterprise with helping shape the success of Miller's Court. "I remember walking through the building with several key Enterprise people when it was practically falling down," he says. "They were the first people who didn't tell us we were crazy. They encouraged us and pushed us to turn it into a reality. Every step of the way, from the financing to the management to everything we've done since then has had some kind of Enterprise involvement."

While throwing a cookout one day, Thibault was approached by a group of Miller's Court residents. Not only did they want to commit to Baltimore and buy homes in Remington, they wanted Seawall to build them. Over the next month, Seawall participated in the city's Vacants to Value initiative and acquired 30 vacant houses. They created focus groups with residents to dream up designs. Three hundred people turned up for the open house. All 30 houses sold that day, most in shell form. "They were betting on a dream," says Thibault.

Now Seawall has acquired the rights to redevelop three whole blocks in Remington with plans to bring in a mixed-use assortment of retail, residential and nonprofit space. While other developers applied for the job, the support of the local community helped Seawall win the bid.

"Our whole idea was to come in as neighbors and not guests," says Thibault.