NONPROFITS, DEVELOPER SHARE BENEFITS OF GIVING
The Daily Record
The South Baltimore Homeless Shelter snatched up the linens, Historic Main Street grabbed the filing cabinets for its new visitor's center, and the Salvation Army picked up one of its biggest donations ever — the remnants of a 225-bed fully operational nursing home.
This week Salvation Army trucks hauled away the inventory from the old Inner Harbour Convalescent Home, a nursing home that was shut down by the state and purchased by developer Patrick Turner for conversion to a 70-plus apartment complex on Light Street in Federal Hill.
Turner — who paid $3 million for the building after beating out nearly a dozen other developers who plopped down their $100,000 deposits — discovered he had a lot of items to get rid of before he could start rehabilitation of the old South Baltimore Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital, built in the 1923 and completely renovated in 1997 by the nursing home owners.
Among those items were dozens of wheelchairs, walkers and, of course, complete bedroom sets from the rooms — most of them occupied by two residents.
Still, even the Salvation Army was overwhelmed by the task, bringing in workers on their days off, putting additional trucks into service and securing a storage area from Turner.
"This was the only outfit big enough," Turner said of the Salvation Army.
Kenny Shaun, general supervisor of the Salvation Army, said 25 workers were filling up eight trucks that would make 40 to 50 deliveries before the day was over. His workers, meanwhile, transported items down four flights of stairs; the elevators were not in working order.
Yet, his agency was eager to get their hands on the items — particularly since most were only five years old.
"We get offers to clean out buildings, but we end up with antiquated computers and old desk," he said. "Here we're talking out complete bedroom sets."
Turner opted to give back to the community rather than bring in a salvage company that would buy the furnishings. Light Street Housing, he said, took some of the beds.
Turner expects to invest about $13 million into the 100,000-square-foot project which is 18 months out. Construction is expected to begin in September and wrap up in September 2004.
"We want to restore it," he said, noting the ceilings will be ripped out to expose the 12-foot ceilings and the hallways will be maintained. "Architecturally, it's a wonderful building."
He may, however, have a problem with the southwest corner of the fourth floor. The room, said Turner, appears to be haunted. The aroma of flowery talcum powder lingers there despite the fact it has been vacant for a while, and the door shuts itself when anyone enters.
Still, he sees a doorman building with plenty of outside balconies, roof decks, gym and parking. Whether the units are rentals or owner-occupied will be determined by the market in 2004.
"The great thing about real estate is you go to bed at night knowing someone is paying for it," he said. "This will be a charming unit as a residence."
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