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Bozzuto Construction is Breathing New Life into Guardian House

Photo by Carolyn Andros

Guardian House | Baltimore, MD
Project Value: $16 Million
Project Size: 66 Units
Owner: Landmark Partners
Architect: SM+P Architects
Structural Engineer: ONYX Design and Consulting, LLC 

Adaptive reuse involves a greater degree of complexity compared to a typical building renovation. This approach is more than just utilizing the original structure—it also involves reusing the existing anatomy for a purpose other than what it was originally designed for.  Developers have been capitalizing on this growing trend of adaptive reuse, which promotes sustainability and revitalizes the local economy by repurposing previously underutilized community resources. Office vacancy in the United States has reached a record high of 12.9%, presenting an opportunity for adding more adaptive reuse projects to the commercial real estate market. 

In the case of Bozzuto Construction’s Guardian House, three existing historic buildings—previously a culinary school and two office buildings—are being combined to provide 66 units for Baltimore City’s first responders in the Historic District of Baltimore City, MD.  

Structural Rehabilitation 

With adaptive reuse, existing conditions aren’t always known until construction is underway. Guardian House required replacing 60% of the wood framing in two buildings and 85% in the third.  

The floor plates on levels two through five needed to be replaced, and as a result, lateral shoring and bracing were installed to support the structure’s foundation temporarily. 

Historic Restoration 

This project aims to preserve the historical façade of the building while also infusing new life into the structures. To achieve this, Bozzuto Construction is restoring the original design elements of the buildings, such as wood storefronts, cornices, stucco, and masonry. The restoration project also includes replacing the existing windows with new aluminum-clad wood single-hung and picture replacement windows that will mimic the original design and materials. 

The existing copper features will be cleaned to remove carbon and other staining by a treatment consistent with 20th-century copper systems.  

The existing cornices will also be cleaned, repaired, and repainted. Custom fabrication will be enlisted to match the original details when replacement features are necessary. 

The brick façade will receive repair and repointing using a traditional lime and sand mortar mix that will not damage the existing brick. Interior brick will also be repointed and left exposed where insulation or sound-transmission reduction is not required.  

The original stucco façade is slated for patching and repair using a lime and sand mix to prolong the life of the system. 

In addition, new aluminum and glass storefront and entry doors will replace the existing at ground level on Gay Street. The new historically accurate wood storefront will flank the Gay Street frontage for both retail spaces. The wood storefront includes original detailing, trim, transom windows, and hardware. 

Housing for First Responders 

This project was named Guardian House to signify the units designated for Baltimore City first responders. 

22% of units will have reduced rent for the Baltimore Police Department and Baltimore Fire Department tenants who earn less than 80% of Baltimore Area Media Income (AMI).   

“A primary motivation for Guardian House, and the basis of its name, is that public safety is best achieved when police officers and other first responders who serve others are able to live in the communities they are part of and protect,” said Jon Pannoni, President of Landmark Partners Baltimore.  

“We are also positioning the building so that it better serves these groups and have included them early in the design and programming process and continue to do so,” he added. 

Bozzuto Construction and Landmark Partners 

Guardian House is the first collaboration between Bozzuto Construction and Landmark Partners, a Baltimore-based development company focused on workforce housing, community development, and boutique office spaces. Bozzuto and Landmark have a shared passion for supporting the communities in which we operate and creating positive change for current and future residents. 

During the one-and-a-half-year preconstruction effort for Guardian House, Bozzuto Construction worked closely with Landmark Partners to establish a scope of work that appropriately accounted for the existing conditions within the final design and budget. 

Alongside Landmark Partners, SM+P Architects, and ONYX Design and Consulting, LLC, Bozzuto Construction looks forward to opening the doors of Guardian House in the Spring of 2024 to the Baltimore community.  

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