Sunday, September 18, 2016

Meet the New Neighbors

April (left) and Louise Isa
By Erin M. Colligan 

The landscape of Remington has changed dramatically over the past year as Remington Row evolved from a giant hole in the ground to a full structure with the signature red brick warehouse style of the Seawall Development. This summer, Remington Row welcomed its first residents. Though construction continues on the office and retail space, the residents began moving in on July 1st. As of August, the building was 89% leased.

Much of Remington Row’s appeal is Remington itself. “The location of Remington is prime for people to travel uptown and downtown,” Seawall’s Shawn Brown said. The apartments are close to Hopkins campus and will even get a JHU shuttle stop. She said people appreciate Remington because they “like the diversity and see the potential and room to grow.”

The diversity is evident in the variety of tenants Remington Row attracts. Its residents include people moving to Baltimore for school and work, longtime Baltimore residents starting new businesses, empty nesters who were tired of shoveling snow and mowing grass, and young families who want their children to experience life in the city.

Sisters and longtime Baltimore residents April (left) and Louise Isa lived in Union Mill in Woodberry before moving to Remington Row. April, who goes by Milly, works for BubbleBall Maryland, a company that comes to special events with sumo-wrester-like bubble outfits for fun and action-packed soccer games. Louise works at an organic market . The Isas fell in love with Remington largely through their frequent visits to Sweet 27; both sisters keep gluten-free diets. They felt more connected to Remington than they did to Woodberry/Hampden. Even with Union Mill’s proximity to the Avenue, Milly and Louise found themselves relying on food delivery services.

Remington, by contrast, has many attractions that bring them out of the house, such as Sweet 27 and Parts & Labor as well as nearby Brown Rice and St. Mary’s Restaurant & Bar. As gamers, the Isa sisters also appreciate Remington’s two Pokestops and the conveniently located GameStop. Most importantly, they are closer to friends with families that already live in Remington; they’re grateful for the opportunity to see their friends’ children grow up.

Kaitlyn Huett and Anderson Miller

Newly engaged couple Kaitlyn Huett, 23, and Anderson Miller, 22, recently moved to Baltimore from Norfolk, Va. Anderson will be attending the University of Maryland School of Dentistry and Kaitlyn can work from home for her sales job. As Virginia Beach natives, they admitted “a concrete jungle is a bit of a change for us, but we love the life that Baltimore has.” They didn’t know much about the city before moving here and Remington was never on their radar but Kaitlyn happened to come across Remington Row in her apartment search. They visited and saw how the neighborhood was being revamped. “Being able to be a part of something up-and-coming was exciting for us.”

Kaitlyn and Anderson have come to appreciate all that Remington has to offer. It’s conveniently located and easy to get downtown or to Towson. There are great local spots within walking distance such as the Dizz, Charmington’s, Sweet 27, and Parts & Labor and the couple is getting a “small town” feeling by becoming regulars at these places.

Elizabeth Nash, 39, her husband Salvatore Pappalardo, 37, and their two daughters, 4 and 2, relocated to Remington Row after living in Towson for two years. They originally moved to Towson from Philadelphia for Salvatore’s job as a professor at Towson University. However, they realized, “We really are city people.” They wanted to raise their children in the city and have that urban experience. Before settling on Remington, they gathered opinions of friends and toured neighborhoods. Not only was Remington convenient to both of their jobs—Elizabeth still takes the train from Penn Station to Philadelphia regularly for work—and their children’s daycare, they also sensed it was a family-friendly place to live.

Although Elizabeth and Salvatore are downsizing as far as their living space—their 2 daughters will be sharing a room in a 2-bedroom apartment—they feel they are gaining in experience. Elizabeth explained that there’s much more time to spend with their children when they’re not maintaining a backyard. With so many amenities in walking distance, they will also get out more and appreciate the neighborhood. Finally, they admire the mix of Remington in terms of racial, language, and age diversity.

Matt Poyton, 29, is also new to Baltimore. He finished his PhD in physical chemistry in May at Penn State University. In his dissertation research, Poyton found that metals such as copper can attach to and damage cell membranes, a finding that has implications for diseases such as Alzheimer’s and autism. Now Poyton and is doing postdoctoral work at JHU Medicine in the lab of Taekjip Ha. He and his colleagues will be doing sophisticated experiments on molecules that can unwind DNA.

Poyton chose Remington mainly because of the affordability. He looked throughout the city and concluded “Remington had the most to offer for the money you have to spend.” He liked that Remington is a relatively quiet neighborhood but there are still things to do, such as at The Dizz, Sweet 27, and Charmington’s. He found the neighborhood accessible and appreciates the proximity to a Hopkins shuttle stop. Poyton also realized it was a good time to move here because there are a lot of new things coming in, such as R. House and the barber shop. After several years in rural Pennsylvania, Poyton is glad to be back in the city, where he has “tons of things to do, right out my front door.”

One common sentiment echoed by the Remington Row tenants is a love for the building itself. Kaitlyn and Anderson found the building to be “stunning,” even in their virtual tour while the building was still 2 x 4’s and dry wall. Milly and Louise describe the “great vibe” of the building. They are excited about the prospect of a brand new building with larger spaces, bike storage, garage parking, and an elevator. As Milly remarked “I like to think the building is kind of sexy.” The fact that Remington Row is a green building was a major selling point for the Nash family. Poyton liked that it was a new building and admired the warehouse style with reclaimed wood. He also cited the garage and gym as major selling points.

Both Seawall and the new residents expressed a desire to live in a walkable community. The developer hopes residents can leave their cars in the garage most of the time. The Isa sisters appreciated that they “don’t have to drive” and have everything they need in walking distance.

Seawall set a goal for Remington Row to be a “community-minded building.” The Isa sisters have gotten involved with the community garden on Fox street. Poyton is looking to volunteer with a mentoring program, and the Nash family plans to get involved in the Greater Remington Improvement Association. Thus, Remington Row will not only offer access to health care and retail, but also a new set of neighbors eager to get involved in the community.