The Hoen & Co. Complex, originally constructed in 1885 in Baltimore, MD, is the last remaining site of the oldest continuously operating lithographer in the United States. Known for their precision and high-quality work that elevated the medium, the Hoen & Co. lithographers specialized in cartographic, scientific, and pictorial illustration, producing maps that were influential in the settlement of the west and setting national boundaries. Their maps were used in the National Geographic Society’s first bound atlas and comprised the full collection of insert maps in the National Geographic magazine. They also frequently partnered with the Johns Hopkins University Department of Art as Applied to Science in the creation of extraordinarily detailed medical illustrations.
The company succumbed to bankruptcy in 1981 after the pressure of a decline in business and a rise in cost-effective digital options. The buildings sat vacant until they were acquired by the City of Baltimore and sold to the collaborative team leading the current redevelopment.
Upon completion, the former lithograph printing facility will become the Center for Neighborhood Innovation (CNI), a new model for community transformation. It will co-locate workforce development programs, educational training, neighborhood revitalization advocates, and nonprofits that are committed to strengthening the local neighborhood. The building will be anchored by Strong City Baltimore, one of two nonprofit partners in the development effort. This organization provides a wealth of community-centric programming as well as fiscal sponsorship for over 100 local nonprofits.
Hoen will also be home to the Associated Builders and Contractors (“ABC”), a national construction industry trade association apprenticeship training program that connects participants with career track positions in the construction industry. This will be the first inner-city location for ABC and anticipates up to 513 annual program participants with 50% being low-income individuals.
The space will also include a construction workforce training program operated by City Life Community Builders, a non-profit that focuses on training low-income community residents who face barriers to employment. The program will provide basic level construction training, comprehensive case management, career counseling, and job skills training. Students will receive hands-on training as they work to rebuild and restore vacant and blighted homes within their own communities. Additionally, City Life Community Builders helps local contractors obtain Minority Contracting Certification to advance their businesses.
Future tenants within the remaining spaces will transform this city-block-wide complex into a lively hub of new activity in a neighborhood that has struggled with years of disinvestment. They will facilitate greater connectivity between new developments in the Collington Square neighborhood and the existing revitalization efforts in the East Baltimore Development Initiative (EBDI) to the south.
Economic and Community Impact
The Center for Neighborhood Innovation is located in a heavily distressed neighborhood surrounded by hundreds of vacant units. The creation of a lively community within the historic buildings will encourage new residents to move into the neighborhood and act as a catalyst for additional development. Additionally, participants in training programs provided by Associated Builders and Contractors and City Life Community Builders will play an active role in restoring their community. They will restore blighted properties in the surrounding neighborhood while gaining hands-on experience and the necessary certification required for positions in the construction industry.
Unlike traditional project-based initiatives that focus on a single issue, a place-based approach, such as the one practiced by CNI, addresses multiple issues found within a single geographic area. The interdisciplinary group will help students and residents move step-by-step along the continuum from schooling to job training to career building. The project will create 164 construction jobs and create/retain 283 permanent jobs in East Baltimore, stimulating further investment and job creation in the community. The development team has also fostered partnerships with other local community organizations that will provide additional resources to local residents, such as the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative, Civic Works, and Habitat for Humanity.