‘Ordinary’ Row Homes Get the Royal Treatment

Posted December 20, 2017

In the 1950s, hundreds of brick row homes were built in many of Dundalk’s neighborhoods during the busiest years of steel making and other heavy manufacturing (Western Electric, General Motors, Crown Cork and Seal, Standard Oil, among others). In fact, by 1958 Bethlehem Steel at Sparrows Point was the largest producer of steel in the world, with 30,000 employees. So, the housing boom was on.

From block to block, there were some variations on the basic theme, but 2 – 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, a basement ‘club room’ and laundry/storage were basic issue, complete with chain link fences and possibly a backyard parking pad. Sturdy, serviceable, and close to thousands of jobs, these row homes were the embodiment of the Live Near Your Work (LNYW) concept.

The ‘50s row homes still stand, despite the demise of heavy industry that changed the economics for Dundalk and Greater Baltimore. Many are becoming new again, thanks to developers and owners who recognize Dundalk’s assets, see an exciting economic future coming again, and are creating completely new interiors and fresh livable spaces.

Granite and stainless kitchens, additional tiled bathrooms, new flooring, carpeting, HVAC systems, windows and reconfigured lower levels – in other words, complete renovations – are transforming row home spaces. Developers are carefully watching what comes on the market. Homeowners are taking on major projects, also helping to create upgraded housing choices. Revitalized blocks, increased property values, renovated homes still affordable for first-time buyers are just part of Dundalk’s current lure.

Although several factors play into this renewed interest in Dundalk, the most compelling is the 3,100 acre redevelopment of the Sparrows Point Terminal by Tradepoint Atlantic. Once fully developed, the 9,500 direct jobs (and 7,500 indirect) will breathe new life into LNYW and create a large group of potential new residents for our 24 neighborhoods.

FedEx opened their facility last summer, with 275 full and part-time jobs. Under Amour is building and plans to open their distribution center in 2018, offering 1,000 jobs; Amazon has broken ground and will be hiring 1,500 in 2019 for their new facility. Other businesses to come are Harley Davidson and Host Terminals (marine cargo based in Norfolk). Royal Farms will anchor the commercial area, which will include banking, pharmacy and food options at The Shoppes at Tradepoint Atlantic. An important collaboration with U.S. Wind Inc. and Skipjack Offshore Energy, builder and mover of big-time wind power equipment, will also create hundreds of jobs at Sparrows Point.

New retail, restaurants, businesses and schools are here; more are on the immediate horizon. That’s great. The very real prospect of thousands of new jobs in the next ten years is huge.  Buying into Dundalk is not only joining a great community, it’s investing in a promising future.