Feb 03 2008

Has Pigtown become the next Federal Hill?

Published by at 4:18 pm under Houses,Real Estate,Uncategorized

I was intrigued when I read an article the other day reporting that a developer plans to build 99 new townhouses and condos in Pigtown near th B&O railroad museum (expected to go on sale in 2010).? The developer also wants? to revitalize a block? of Pigtown’s commercial district along Washington Blvd. bringing new restaurants and shops.? Pigtown has been gentrifiying for a while, but I didn’t expect to hear this kind of announcement.? It’s definitely a good thing for the area.? Maybe it has to do with Pigtown’s name change to “Washington Village”, but has this area finally become the next Federal Hill or Canton?? Seems like there might be no stopping it at this point, especially with University of Maryland creeping across MLK.? However, I haven’t been over that way in a while.? I’m interested to hear perspectives from anyone who lives over there…especially the early pioneers…as to how redevelopment is going in that area.?


31 Comments to “Has Pigtown become the next Federal Hill?”

  1. UABon 03 Feb 2008 at 7:01 pm

    Washington Village is going to a reality real soon. The city is going to clear cut the poor people, bring in the rich, and be done with it.

  2. Carol Otton 04 Feb 2008 at 11:04 am

    Just for the record, the name is not, nor ever will be Washington Village. Pigtown is on the National Register as “Pigtown Historic District”.

    I pray that our community will retain some of what makes it such a great place to live, and I hope it never becomes another Federal Hill or Canton. Growth and change can happen, and will happen, without shoving aside our citizens.

  3. [...] would seem the old “Washington Village” issue just won’t die.? Funny that the discussion is currently being led by someone who doesn’t live [...]

  4. JJTon 04 Feb 2008 at 11:44 am

    You are making a somewhat large leap in logic by thinking that Pigtown is going to be the next Federal Hill.

    For one, the makeups of the neighborhoods are entirely different. Pigtown has lots of former and current industrial property. Take a look around Federal Hill. See lots of industrial property there? Secondly, the neighborhood is affordable to lots of people. Federal Hill–a place I lived in for quite some time before buying my home in Pigtown–is far from affordable. Lastly, the movement in the right direction is taking place from a business perspective. Pigtown needs a commercial and entertainment center along the lines of Federal Hill, but it is not quite there yet.

    Keep in mind the Federal Hill you know now was 25 years in the making, and most of what you now constitute as Federal Hill has traditionally been South Baltimore. Pigtown is a pretty heterogeneous neighborhood compared to Federal Hill, even with the good and bad elements in it.

  5. Seanon 04 Feb 2008 at 11:50 am

    Can someone please explain to me what is “wrong” with Federal Hill and Canton in relation to Pigtown development?

  6. Carol Otton 04 Feb 2008 at 1:04 pm

    Sean, absolutely nothing is wrong with Federal Hill and Canton. My son attends school in Federal Hill, we belong to the Otterbein Swim Club, and you can’t beat the Canton waterfront for a nice walk. (The Safeway rocks, too!)

    With that said, however, as JJT mentions in his post — neither of those neighborhoods are affordable. I would hate to see my community go that route. And while I welcome some bars and entertainment, I’d also hate to see our community turned into a bar district — with all of the problems that come along with it. You may not know this, but Washington Boulevard is predominantly residential — not commercial. Other than the 700-900 blocks, there really isn’t room for a “bar district” area here.

    I hope that future developers understand that those of us who live here truly appreciate what sets this community apart from others in the city, and work to preserve that, instead of turning it into a cookie-cutter duplicate of what’s already been done.

  7. progressiveon 04 Feb 2008 at 1:11 pm

    I suppose having well kept front steps and doors, walkable streets, and plenty of cool restaurants and stores is a detriment to a neighborhood…??? And why “Pigtown” absolutely has to keep it’s poor eponym baffles me too. Rebuild the place and leave the pigs out.

  8. Jimon 04 Feb 2008 at 1:25 pm

    I would like to see the industrial properties between Bayard and Cross put to some use. I love driving around looking at these old factories and warehouses wondering how cool it would be to have galeries, shops, and/or restaurants in them, maybe also residences. Developed right this could be one of the coolest neighborhoods on the east coast.

  9. Seanon 04 Feb 2008 at 2:25 pm

    I’m familiar with Wash Blvd., but I’m not sure what positives exist that set Pigtown apart from nearby neighborhoods. I’m sure you’ll tell me:) A 2-10-block bar/ restaurant district along the Blvd. is a pretty fanciful notion right now, but if it did happen, I haven’t heard a convincing argument against it. Residential/ commercial can exist despite any fallout you’re referring to. (Side note: I wouldn’t use the term “cookie cutter” to describe Fed Hill or (most of) Canton.) Being priced out of certain neighborhoods is a fact of life we all have to deal with when in the market to buy a home. I hope home prices in Pigtown increase in order to attract more investment and young professionals of differing backgrounds wanting to “get in on it.” Oh, yeah, and I don’t want to lose money on my investment, either. We all have our own ideas/ definitions of gentrification and whether or not our actions aid or detract from that “process”, so I won’t go there. But for the folks in danger of being priced out of Pigtown somewhere in the future, you know as well as I, no one lost sleep over the fact that I was priced out of Fed Hill and Canton, and Locust Point and Wash, DC, and not to mention Camden Crossing. As harsh as it may sound, I’m not going to lose any sleep over folks priced out of Pigtown. Neighborhoods ebb and flow. My Pigtown neighbor has lived on our street for 60 years. He used to sleep in Carroll Park in the summer. There used to be movie theaters (yes, plural) on the Blvd. and a department store. I prefer to think what the positive development that may happen in this neighborhood is an attempt at recapturing what Pigtown used to be, or at least a portion of what it used to be. I applaud the hard work all Pigtown business owners do to create a better living environment. I hope I’m here to see the day when your numbers increase even if that means Potbelly, Blockbuster, and Starbucks set up shop in the hood, and I have to navigate between drunken 20 and 30-somethings reveling in their youth and disposable cash. All the best Pigtowners et al.

  10. Heinzon 04 Feb 2008 at 3:37 pm

    My partner Andrew and I have lived in Pigtown for 1yr and 4 months. We love the fact that it includes everyone… I hope when all is said and done that it reflects what makes it a great place to live. The diversity of its citizens. Lastly, We live in Pigtown… not Washington Village!
    p.s. If you want a great cup of coffee or a bite to eat… join us Evelyns Cafe..

  11. Carolon 04 Feb 2008 at 4:52 pm

    Potbelly, Blockbuster, and Starbucks set up shop in the hood, and I have to navigate between drunken 20 and 30-somethings reveling

    I hope to God I’m too old and senile to know what’s going on when that comes.

    Hampden has been able to keep its local flavor, so if Pigtown is to become “another” anything, I’d rather lean towards what they’ve done than a cookie-cutter chain-ridden neighborhood.

    And yes, I do indeed lose sleep over my neighbors who might be priced out. It’s my job to care about them, and as Heinz said, the fact that our neighborhood is able to be inclusive — that’s what sets it far apart from others, and that’s what makes it a great place to live.

  12. chrismon 04 Feb 2008 at 7:08 pm

    Let me apologize up front… I’m sure there is a lot to Pigtown that I have not seen. But what I have seen leads me to believe it’s not a very safe area. Am I wrong? Now granted my only experience in Pigtown (or is it Washington Village?) is driving down Washington Boulevard on my way to Carol Park golf course. But the people hanging out on the corners lead me to believe it has a ways to go to become a safe neighborhood. One lasting memory I have was from a year or two ago. I was driving down Wash. Blvd. on a weekday afternoon around 2:00 in the afternoon on my way to play golf. I was working from home that day ;) . And I see a guy come stumbling out of the bar holding his t-shirt to his head covered in blood. Looked like he got hit in the head with a bottle. At at 2:00 pm on a workday! Gotta love Bmore.

  13. Carolon 04 Feb 2008 at 8:56 pm

    And I see a guy come stumbling out of the bar holding his t-shirt to his head covered in blood. Looked like he got hit in the head with a bottle. At at 2:00 pm on a workday!

    You say that like it’s a bad thing. Who doesn’t like a good bar fight in the middle of the day?? :)

    All kidding aside, Pigtown is actually a very safe community. We’ve had a lot of property crimes, but very little violent crime. I’d like to say “no violent crime” but I believe there was one murder (drug related) last year and a couple of assaults (I believe the people knew each other and it wasn’t a string of random assaults.)

    I’m usually standing outside my cafe on the boulevard, so I hope I’m not included in the scary people category. On the other hand, maybe that’s a good thing some days.

    I feel very safe here, and my son (he’s 7) loves it here. Sure, cruddy things can and do happen — but we have a very supportive close community, and it’s one of the greatest things about living here.

  14. Don 04 Feb 2008 at 10:01 pm

    I lived in Federal Hill/South Baltimore for a little over 5 years and moved to “Pigtown” 3 years ago. Frankly, I don’t care what you call the neighborhood, more people will buy in the neighborhood if its WV which is great because then it will help get the bad elements out; and please keep in mind, it depends on where you live in the neighborhood. If you are north of the blvd (CC or Barre) you see/experience less than if you live south. I still get woken from a dead sleep at 2 in the morning from someone screaming outside , see deals go down almost once a day and have a whirl of other issues. I welcome all the investment into the neighborhood someone is willing to put. Also, most those that I have talked to that have lived here a long time own their homes and they told me they love seeing the new people move in and those not so good folks (who have scared these poor people into either selling their home or stay hidden in it) move out.

  15. CWon 05 Feb 2008 at 3:03 am

    I have lived in Pigtown/Washington Village for about a year now. Although I was very skeptical of moving into this neighborhood, I took a chance on what could be a great investment. I decided to get in on the ground floor on a upcoming neighborhood. Despite the addicts, the drug deals, the sounds of motorbikes and arguing in the wee hours of the morning,… this is home to me now. I welcome the redevelopment of Baltimore/Pigtown/WV, it’s long overdue.

  16. lindsey bramwellon 05 Feb 2008 at 6:24 am

    Pigtown gots its name because the pig farmers used to bring their pigs into town on the B&O for sale, slaughter and transport by ship. The pigs were run through the streets to the butchers, many of whom were black entreprenuers, even before the Civil War. The Church on Scott St was a player in the Underground Railroad.

  17. Chamon 05 Feb 2008 at 12:46 pm

    Hmm, pigs are tasty. I would like a chance to pull a pig that happens to be running by through my basement window. Free bacon! Yum. Pigtown Pigtown Pigtown

  18. Celinaon 06 Feb 2008 at 2:24 am

    I’ve been a resident of Pigtown for the past year and a half (coming from DC). Although the drug dealing and garbage problems eat at me, Pigtown is the budding place to be. The more caring, responsible people buy into Pigtown, the better it will become. Best to buy in now; it won’t be affordable forever. C’mon, be a pioneer! :)

  19. Celinaon 06 Feb 2008 at 2:27 am

    BTW, Lindsey, what’s going on with the Green Pig? It seems like a really cool concept.

  20. Carolon 06 Feb 2008 at 9:35 am

    I suppose having well kept front steps and doors, walkable streets, and plenty of cool restaurants and stores is a detriment to a neighborhood…???

    Nobody’s saying these things are bad. What I would like to see, however, is slow thoughtful growth instead of the mad-dash poorly thought-out development that was had in the residential sector.

    An interesting mix of retail, food, and professional offices would add a lot to the neighborhood.

  21. Glenon 06 Feb 2008 at 6:17 pm

    Apparently this blog needs more Pigtown posts. It’s a hot topic.

  22. Georgeon 06 Feb 2008 at 10:08 pm

    I moved pre-rehab 4 yrs ago and have seen Washington Village or Pigtown, whichevere you prefer, transform. It is safer now than then. It is cleaner and there is some commerical development. On that note:
    1. It will never be a Federal Hill.. Hampden – yes. It all depends on what we want. I would love to see a Starbucks, speciality shops, and a GOOD Safway (the one in WV is a nightmare). This community needs to think development. Stop talking and take action. Design a marketing plan, investment plan and go forth to bring the investments we need..NOW not later. This area has great potential
    2. Alot of commuters from DC have moved to Pigtown b/c of price AND location location. It’s near 295, 95, 695 and 10 minute walk to MARC. We need to target people with disposable income such as DC-Southern MD residents who are looking for the city life but need an easy commute. Unfortunately, we suck at marketing and can’t get our act together.

    3. The community is rich in new and old residents. HOWEVER, we all want property values to increase. I didn’t move hear to sell my house at 100k discount like a blue light special b/c people fear change..Build a bridge – get over it.

    Fortunately, this area’s assessment continues to go up so there is commerical investment opportunity.

    3. Let me blunt. The name Pigtown doesn’t sell if you live outside the area. The name washington village does. I bought my home as such. I think many of us new folks from the DC metro area wouldn’t have moved here if we knew the name prior. However, knowing what I know now, the name Pigtown does have its charm..but you have you market it correctly..Don’t just ASS-U-ME

    4. Barre Circle, RD or CC is not Pigtown.

  23. Seanon 07 Feb 2008 at 11:09 am

    I live in Camden Crossing?
    Oh, yeah? Where’s that?

    So, Camden Crossing is in Washington Village?

    These neighborhood “boundary” issues are interesting. Is there a “Welcome to Camden Crossing” sign on Scott St?

  24. Seanon 07 Feb 2008 at 1:14 pm

    Pray tell…
    “…instead of the mad-dash poorly thought-out development that was had in the residential sector.”

  25. Carolon 07 Feb 2008 at 4:44 pm

    Barre Circle and Camden Crossing are indeed in Pigtown. Please review the boundaries as listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

    Washington Village does not exist. There is no official designation for that name, beyond what people have in their minds, and sorry — that’s not good enough. Whether you like it or not, if you live here, you live in Pigtown.

    And George, perhaps you’d like to get involved in the community instead of just telling us what we should be doing. Start by joining Citizens of Pigtown and perhaps attend a meeting or two. Then you can start working on that marketing plan.

  26. nedworrdon 20 Feb 2008 at 12:34 pm

    I just moved to Pigtown two weeks ago – a friend from college recently bought a house there. Working in DC, I find the walk to the MARC station very convenient. However, where is there to hang out in Pigtown? Any restaurants/cool places to get a beer that are appealing? A nice coffee shop to read the paper on the weekend? A good brunch? I went to the local corner watering hole (Bob’s on the corner of Washington/Ostend haha) to grab a beer and watch the MD/Duke game and was accosted by prostitutes the second I walked in so I went to Magerks instead and enjoyed $1 Coors lights and company generally my age (28). I find myself always going to Fed Hill or Canton to carry out these activities,

  27. Jeffon 22 Feb 2008 at 6:40 pm

    This topic has been given a new posting. Please see the February 21st entry.

  28. pigtownproudon 22 Feb 2008 at 7:33 pm

    Welcome to Baltimore -
    From the comments I am reading, I suspect that many (not all) of you are new to Baltimore. I have been here for over 40 years – my whole life and have watched the demise and metamorphosis of Baltimore. Canton and Federal Hill used to be Pigtown believe it or not, so nothing is impossible.

    Their growth has only come about in the past 20 years. When I was little, my mother and I would take public transportation from Catonsville downtown to do our shopping in all of the elite Department stores which are now long gone. For the next 20 years Baltimore City became barren as everyone who could afford it, moved out to the suburbs. Then there was a revival of the professional industries in Baltimore which brought in the young professionals who wanted a close walk-able place to live. This trend continues and the need for urban housing continues to grow. We are now becoming the “affordable” bedroom community of DC and the need for housing is growing in leaps and bounds.

    Being a true Balti-moron, I continue to support our history by supporting the name “Pigtown”. I could have chosen to live in Federal Hill, Canton, or back in my hometown of Catonsville, but I have watched this city come back to life, and I wanted to be a part of its revitalization. I remember Pigtown when it was a proud place for people to live. I am dedicating my spare time to bring that memory to a reality. My best motivation is the critics – give it time, because if I could take you back in time 20 years ago, you would be saying the same thing about places like Federal Hill, Locust Point, Canton, Butchers, Brewers, and Patterson.

  29. epsilonicuson 27 Oct 2009 at 12:22 am

    I do not think Pigtown will become like Federal Hill. It is too residential.

    Also, it is not a problem that the area is called Pigtown. It brings a historic sense to it. It captures the history of the area. Washington Village does not. Many people moving into the area appreciate that.

    I think it will look more like Fells Point. There may be some bars but it will not overdue it like Federal Hill. Or maybe it will turn into Ridgely’s Delight. More residential with maybe some small businesses.

  30. hailon 01 Dec 2009 at 5:36 pm

    Well, whatever happens, I hope that it will turn around. i am willing to take a risk and buy a property on the 900 block and hope that the future has great plans for pig town / washington village. I work at UMMC and I’m hoping that more of the employees will think about moving closer to work. I woldn’t mind having some bars. To those of you who said that pigtown is so great and it has its own feel and history, you need to take a look at the borded up homes aroud this area. If bars want to come in and replace the boarded up homes with entertainment and a history of their won, I welcome them.

  31. davebon 24 Mar 2010 at 7:12 pm

    I just got a place on the 1100 block of Washington Blvd. I love the area and the fact that so much rehabbing is happeneing. It is walking distance to the University and the Inner Harbor.

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