American Brewery

Baltimore, Maryland

Award Type: Advisors' Award

An abandoned 1887 brewery in East Baltimore was restored and reused as headquarters for Humanim, a social services organization with roots in the community.

The American Brewery project rehabilitated an abandoned 1887 brewhouse in East Baltimore whose derelict condition symbolized how far the once-proud neighborhood had fallen. Vacant for thirty years, all previous attempts to revive the striking, five-story Gothic structure had failed. In 2008, that changed thanks to a $25 million historic rehabilitation conducted by a private developer and Humanim, Inc., a social services organization based in the nearby suburbs. Federal and state historic tax credits and private donations transformed the bat-infested brewhouse into headquarters for Humanim, while retaining key historic elements, such as the vats that now serve as the office’s "think tank."

From its new home, Humanim is now perfectly positioned to provide workforce development services and job creation opportunities directly to the neighborhood. In addition to relocating its 250 employees there, the organization made 40 local hires. Meanwhile, new development is taking place, signaling greater developer confidence in the community. The top-notch historic rehabilitation preserves a piece of the city’s industrial past while demonstrating the historic preservation is a viable strategy for sparking new investment and economic development in challenged urban neighborhoods.

"While each is unique, this year’s outstanding award winners all reflect the importance of protecting what is special and irreplaceable,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  "Whether it’s the restoration of a brewery in Baltimore or the redevelopment of a classic roadside motor court in Tucson, this year’s award winners demonstrate how preservation is bolstering local economies and creating jobs in communities across the country."