Charles Village Real Estate
Charles Village is a neighborhood located in the north-central area of Baltimore, Maryland, USA. It is a middle-class area with many single-family homes that is in proximity to many of Baltimore’s urban amenities. The neighborhood began in 1869 when 50 acres (200,000 m2) of land were purchased for development. The land was divided and turned over to various builders who constructed home exteriors, leaving the interiors to be custom built according to buyer specifications. The area was first developed as a streetcar suburb in the early 20th century, and is thought to be the first community to employ tract housing tactics. At the time, the area was known as Peabody Heights; the moniker Charles Village, derived from Charles Street, the area’s major north-south corridor, was coined in the 1970s as the beginning of a process of conceptually grouping a large and somewhat heterogeneous area. The neighborhood history has been researched and published by Gregory J. Alexander and Paul K. Williams in their book Charles Village: A Brief History (The History Press, 2009).
Charles Village in a strict sense consists of the area immediately to the east and south of the Johns Hopkins University Homewood campus. However, smaller neighborhoods to the east of this area — including Abell and Harwood, are considered by residents and other Baltimoreans to be part of Greater Charles Village. The Charles Village Community Benefits District (CVCBD) covers a hundred-block area generally bounded by 33rd Street to the north, Greenmount Avenue to the east, 25th Street (east of Guilford) and 20th Street (west of Guilford) to the south, and Johns Hopkins and Howard Street to the west. This area contains over 14,000 people and 700 businesses. The Charles Village Community Benefits District Management Authority (CVCBDMA) is a public entity that provides services within the CVCBD.
Though there are a number of apartment buildings, much of Charles Village’s housing stock consists of two- and three-story rowhouses built in the early 20th century. Many of the houses have been well maintained and, along with the rest of the city, the neighborhood has seen a boom in real estate prices in the first half of the 2000s. Some of the larger rowhouses have been converted into multi-unit apartment houses in more recent decades.
In 1998, Charles Village residents were challenged to take up a paint brush and choose vividly uncommon colors for the facades and front porches of their Victorian rowhouses. Within five years, residents had enlivened more than 100 homes, including several which the owners have repainted more than once. More was at stake, though, than just neighborly relations; the contest offered $3,000 for the best front porch, $2,000 for the best flush front facade and even $500 for the best front door. And as the painters increased, so did the number of competitions, to up to three times a year with new prizes. City blocks, best railings, and entire homes were up for judging. The contests ended in 2003, but Charles Village homeowners say they are looking for the funding to restart the contest. The contests’ lasting result is that the neighborhood is now part of iconic Baltimore, with pictures of the “Painted Ladies”, as the homes are known, appearing on travel guides and magazine covers.
AMENITIES AND FUTURE DEVELOPMENT
The neighborhood includes several small commercial districts and is within walking distance to the well-attended Waverly farmer’s market. However, unlike many of the trendier neighborhoods in the city, there are few large-scale retail areas. That is in the process of changing, however, as two blocks of St. Paul Street in the northern part of the neighborhood have been completely redeveloped. On October 21, 2006, the first phase of a new development project was completed: a Barnes & Noble bookstore opened as an anchor to the retail space of a new dorm building, called Charles Commons, for Hopkins students. The project, completed in 2007, converted a stretch of rowhouses and small apartment buildings to the 600+ capacity dorm as well as multi-story condominiums, all of which contain ground-floor retail. The Barnes & Noble now serves both as the Johns Hopkins student bookstore and as a standard retail outlet for residents of North Baltimore City.
As of the census of 2000, there were 7,925 people living in the neighborhood. The racial makeup of Charles Village was 58.9% White, 22.5% African American, 0.3% Native American, 13.6% Asian, 1.3% from other races, and 3.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.7% of the population. 12.9% of occupied housing units were owner-occupied. 16.3% of housing units were vacant.
62.8% of the population were employed, 2.5% were unemployed, and 34.7% were not in the labor force. The median household income was $20,324. About 20.2% of families and 31.7% of the population were below the poverty line.