Will Redevelopment Boost Baltimore’s Food Economy?
Courtesy Bmore Media – Hampden resident Kate Nolan Bryden caters about a dozen weddings, baby showers and dinner parties a year. But she is holding off upgrading her Graceful Gourmand website because she hasn’t been able to find a nearby commercial kitchen for rent that would give her more room to work. Baking 140 cookies would take just 12 minutes with a commercial kitchen. In her home kitchen, where she currently cooks, it takes her six to seven hours.
But three abandoned buildings in East Baltimore — used most recently as a filming location for “The Wire” —could be her salvation. That’s where developer Bill Struever, restaurateur Spike Gjerde and other partners are plotting a $16 million campus for food-related enterprises in the former Eastern Pumping Station. The Baltimore Food Hub will contain a commercial kitchen for rent, an incubator, small business counseling and an urban farming operation led by Big City Farms.
Construction on the Baltimore Food Hub will begin early next year and will be completed by the end of 2014. Foundation grants, historic tax credits and equity will pay for the project, though funding details are still being worked out.
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