Station North Professional Review and Guide
"There’s a dividing line near Penn Station. To the immediate south lie Mount Royal and Mount Vernon, two of the more visited and sought-after neighborhoods in central Baltimore. To the immediate north and west are the neighborhoods of Charles North, Greenmount West, and Barclay, now known collectively as Station North. Not only has the train station served as a physical boundary, but it has also functioned as something of a psychological one. The streets wrapping around Penn Station to the north and west suffer from higher crime rates and more pronounced poverty than those south. There are still problems, to be sure, but an amazing transformation has taken place in Station North in the past decade. However, it has not been the type of gentrification we’ve seen in so many other places in which urban pioneers snap up abandoned old, but beautiful, properties and, in the process of improving derelict blocks, also price out locals who have made their homes in the area for generations. The newcomers in Station North, by contrast, have been largely young artists, drawn by the area’s official designation as an Arts and Entertainment District, the city’s first. The primary result of that 2002 designation has meant that several abandoned warehouses have been rezoned for residential use; artists looking for cheap accommodations and performance space have found paradise in these old buildings. The resulting changes have been as swift as they have been dramatic: a surfeit of performance space and art gallery showings, and the inevitable small businesses to serve the influx of people and energy. Indeed, it’s an exciting time for Station North, and its recent transformation is great for Baltimore, further enhancing its deserved reputation as a town with a terrific arts scene."