Donald Manekin, of Seawall Development Corporation, explained plans to rehab vacant homes in the 2800 block of Remington Avenue are a logical next step for the company.
Baltimore Housing selected Seawall this week to redevelop nine city properties in that block. Manekin said it makes sense for the company, which he formed with his son Thibault, to begin providing affordable housing for young professionals such as teachers, police officers and municipal employees.
Seawall started several years ago redeveloping buildings to “roll out the red carpet” for new teachers to Baltimore City. So far the company has redeveloped Miller’s Court in Remington and Union Mill in Hampden with apartments for teachers and office space for nonprofits.
But Manekin said eventually these teachers would want to move out of an apartment and purchase a home of their own. So Manekin wants to start developing homes to help keep some of the new residents the company’s apartments lured to the city in Baltimore.
“How do we create an environment that [not only] recruits people, but keeps them in Baltimore?” Manekin asked.
Seawall, prior to the city issuing a request for proposal for the Remington Avenue properties, had already purchased six properties in the neighborhood that were in need of repair. He said its part of Seawall’s desire to be more than just a developer.
“We don’t want to be guests in these neighborhoods. We want to be neighbors,” Manekin said.
Manekin said Seawall intends to take a thoughtful approach to redeveloping the homes that will include details, such as streetscaping, that will make them feel like part of the community.
“We have an opportunity to create a community of homes, and not a one off house,” Manekin said.