The much anticipated mixed-use complex located across
from the Charles Street entrance to the university's
Homewood campus has recently entered the design/development
The Charles Village Project will feature student
housing, parking and ground-floor retail space, anchored by
a new JHU bookstore. The university-owned site is an
L-shaped portion of the block north of East 33rd Street
between North Charles and St. Paul streets. The project is
scheduled for completion by the fall semester of 2005.
In January, Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse Inc. and
Birmingham, Ala.-based Capstone Development Corporation
were chosen to develop the project, one that would serve
the needs of both the university and area residents.
Two Baltimore architectural firms, Ayers Saint Gross
and Design Collective, were selected to design the project.
Ayers Saint Gross is responsible for the project's master
plan and the buildings' facades; Design Collective will
design the interiors of the student housing.
The undertaking grew out of a decision several years
ago to move the university bookstore out of a hard-to-find
and too small location in the basement of Gilman Hall and
into Charles Village, where it will be better able to serve
the community as well as Johns Hopkins students and
faculty. The university later determined that zoning for
the proposed bookstore site would allow for more extensive
development, including much needed student housing.
On Sept. 16, the board of trustees' Buildings and
Grounds Committee approved moving the project forward to
the detailed design phase and the development of a final
The mixed-use facility, seen here
from the corner of North Charles and East 33rd streets,
will house 615 students, the university's bookstore and
other retail spaces.
PHOTO COURTESY OF STRUEVER BROS.,
ECCLES & ROUSE
Adrienne Bell, a development director at Struever
Bros. and the Charles Village Project manager, said that
schematic designs for the site have just been completed and
the project is moving ahead on schedule. Bell said that
while it is too early in the process to offer definitive
details, the site's architectural and development program
is taking shape.
The complex includes two buildings linked by a bridge
at the third floor. The building facing Charles Street is
predominantly student housing, with ground-floor retail
facing 33rd Street. The building's height is projected to
be 11 stories, matching the neighboring Charles apartment
building. The St. Paul Street building is planned to be a
10-story structure that includes a two-story bookstore as
the retail anchor. The upper floors will include a
state-of-the-art student dining facility and student
housing. In total, the 350,000-square-foot complex will
house approximately 615 students.
In terms of physical appearance, Bell said that the
goal is to "relate the buildings back to the Homewood
campus, as well as the local context of Charles Village."
She said that prominent exterior features will be brick,
with cornice elements and a strong base. A preliminary
rendering of the site depicts a tree-lined block with
buildings that feature awnings and storefront windows
providing ample street frontage for the retail uses.
Bell also said that the look and feel of the Johns
Hopkins Charles Village Project will relate to that of a
nearby Struever Bros. project, the redevelopment of the
east and west sides of the 3200 block of St. Paul Street,
which will include ground-floor retail, market-rate
apartments and condominiums, office space and structured
parking. Its completion is expected at the end of 2005.
"A goal of the master plan for our Charles Village
projects is to create a safe and inviting pedestrian
environment in this community," Bell said. "We want to
develop sites that tie together the different elements of
the district through the streetscape."
In February, Struever Bros. created the Charles
Village Task Force, which consists of representatives from
surrounding community and business associations, and area
nonprofits and institutions. The task force meets regularly
to review and discuss plans for the two projects. A
schedule of upcoming meetings can be found at
James McGill, senior vice president for finance and
administration, said the "substantial engagement" of Johns
Hopkins with its surrounding communities began with the
development of the Homewood campus master plan and has
carried over to the Charles Village Project.
"This project represents the marrying of our
objectives to better serve the Hopkins community--its
students, faculty and staff--and to relate felicitously
with our neighbors," McGill said. "We are grateful for the
vigorous and effective involvement of our neighbors in the
planning for this important new development."
Bell said that Struever Bros. has incorporated
numerous changes based on community feedback and the last
six months of meetings with the Charles Village Task
Salem Reiner, the university's coordinator of
community affairs, said the university's intention from the
start was to make this redevelopment an open process in
which area residents could interface directly with the
developers and Johns Hopkins.
"There has been a tremendous amount of community
involvement up until this point, and that certainly will
continue as opportunities present themselves through the
rest of [the design and development phase]. The community
response for the most part has been very positive," Reiner
said. "From the beginning, there has been some concern
about the redeveloped site's physical presence in the
community and how it might change the feeling of that
block; along those lines have been concerns of an increase
in traffic density, so those are issues on which the
developers and everyone else involved are working very
hard. We want to make this a pedestrian-friendly type of
The structures currently on the Charles Village
Project site include a university-owned house at 3301 N.
Charles St., which is now being used for offices; Ivy Hall
on 33rd Street; and the Homewood Garage on St. Paul Street.
All will be demolished in mid-to-late January. Construction
is expected to begin in mid-2004, with occupancy scheduled
for August 2005.
Bell said that for a project like this, the challenge
is to meet the needs of both client and community.
"In this case, we are very fortunate in that a lot of
the university's goals and desires matched with the
community's goals and desires. Everyone wants to see this
new bookstore opened," she said. "Both sides at this point
seem pleased with how plans are shaping up. We've responded
to community concerns about building height and massing,
and we feel we are still able to meet all of Hopkins'
Bell said that when the construction dust finally
clears, both sides should be very happy with the result.
"The big reward for Johns Hopkins when this project is
completed is that it will have a new state-of-the-art
facility to better attract students," she said. "Meanwhile,
the community will have a fabulous bookstore that will stir
foot traffic in and anchor the existing retail area in
Charles Village. The new streetscape will also be a