The Woda Group vowed to rebuild after an affordable housing community it was building was burned down during a night of rioting in Baltimore following the funeral for Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old who died in police custody on April 19.
The Mary Harvin Center, a 61-unit seniors housing project with community space under construction by Westerville, Ohio–based The Woda Group in partnership with the Southern Baptist Church, was destroyed by a massive fire.
The low-income housing tax credit development in East Baltimore was about 45% complete, according to The Woda Group. All of the framing as well as most of the elevator shafts and concrete slabs were completely lost. Financing partners on the project include the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, the city of Baltimore and its Department of Housing, Capital One Bank, and Hudson Housing Capital.
No one was injured in the blaze, and a spokesman for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s office said it was related to the riots. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents are investigating the fire.
According to The Woda Group, its other properties in Baltimore were undamaged, although a CVS that is about 100 yards from its 90-unit Penn Square development was looted and then burned.
“We are committed to continue our redevelopment efforts in Baltimore and will not let the criminal actions of a few deter us from providing quality affordable housing for the overwhelming majority of good people in the city,” David Cooper, a principal at The Woda Group, told his staff. “We will rebuild Mary Harvin as quickly as we can, and we will begin that effort today.”
The Woda Group and the Southern Baptist Church said they expect to have the Mary Harvin Center open for occupancy in spring 2016.