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Paca House Apartments

Baltimore, MD

urban revitalization meets affordable

Originally an adaptive reuse of an old firehouse and contiguous building in 1996, Paca House Apartments offers 92 units of permanent housing and support services to low-income individuals that are veterans and chronically homeless city residents in downtown Baltimore, MD. The decision to redevelop the property was in response to the Baltimore City Mayor and State of Maryland’s call for increased investment in affordable housing and more conducive, permanent adult housing.  

With over 60 years of combined experience in affordable housing development and a shared mission to preserve and focus on urban revitalization projects, it was a partnership match made in heaven. After six years of assembling financing, Volunteers of America Chesapeake & Carolinas (VOACC), Somerset Development Company, and New Community Partners (NCP) launched the redevelopment project in August 2016 with Harkins on the team.  

Client
Volunteers of America Chesapeake & Carolinas, Somerset Development Company, and New Community Partners
Architect
Waldon Studio Architects & Planners
Scope
92 units
72,282 gsf
Wood Frame/Steel Podium

While the total number of units decreased, the conversion nearly doubled the square footage and created units suited for independent living under the Housing First model of permanent supportive housing. Of the 92 units, 19 were reserved for homeless veterans, and veterans are given preference in 63 additional units. New amenity spaces include an outdoor courtyard, community room with kitchenette, resource rooms for resident services, a large lobby area, on-site laundry, and free Wi-Fi throughout common areas. On-site resident services include case management, counseling, and referrals to the local Veterans Affairs Medical Center. This project embraced a strong sense of partnership, with everyone working together towards the same inspiring goal. 

How Harkins Made a Difference
  • Prior to project start, we had to relocate a transformer. This had to be completed in advance of closing so that it would not impact the timing and duration of the main project. We worked with BGE to relocate the transformer about 35 feet back, which was outside of the footprint of the new addition. Since it was an occupied building, coordination and timing were key. A temporary generator was provided for the building and its residents during this major infrastructure reconfiguration.  
  • During preconstruction, Harkins worked with the Baltimore City Fire Department to establish a specific phasing and sequencing plan. This plan was developed to ensure the safety of the residents and the property management personnel that remained at the property throughout the course of construction. As a result, the team’s logistical approach to the project required constant vigilance to maintain the necessary level of safety for those we were working around.  
  • Since this project was in Baltimore City, we had required MBE and WBE contracting goals. The M/WBE requirements were $5,411,700, and we were able to exceed that by awarding an additional $1,813,134. The team awarded a total of $7,224,834 for the project, which is an astounding feat. 
They were proactive, had good suggestions, and kept ahead of issues in a very complicated project.

Bill Whitman

Development Partner,
Somerset Development Company

let's build something exceptional.