Ian’s Favorite Real Estate Projects
As part of his development ethic, Ian does not participate in traditional subdivision or track housing developments which he feels plunder America’s countryside and endanger America’s heritage of living in harmony with nature. Over 25 years, Ian has created his own unique real estate development system he calls “Freehabbing”®, which allows for sustainable real estate development without banks or institutional lenders. Ian’s real estate developments have improved single properties and entire communities; they’ve created hundreds of jobs, and helped hundreds of people realize their American Dream. The following are a few of his projects of which he is most proud:
By the mid 1990’s, the once-grand townhomes on this single block in today’s Baltimore arts district were nearly entirely abandoned. Ian’s block revitalization involved a talented team of local craftsman, woodwrights, ornamental ironworkers, and others. Upon completion of the buildings, Ian and a remaining neighbor collaborated with local sculptors to embellish the block’s architectural flair with several custom gargoyles, offering the block an identity and earning its notoriety as “Monster Row.” To find out about Monster Row’s newest gargoyles or if you’re a sculptor looking to get involved, write Ian here.
The 33 Building ( Joe2 )
33 West North Avenue was perhaps Central Baltimore’s most noticeable eyesore. Situated at the corner of one of the City’s busiest intersections, the long-abandoned structure had partially collapsed. “Nobody else would touch it,” Ian said, “which was probably smart for them; but I’ve always been determined to try the hardest thing, and that’s always paid off.” Today, the 33’s stunning 2,000sf apartments and green roof patio offer the best in City living; and its street-level retail space is home to hipster pizzeria Joe Squared, (awarded City Paper’s “Best New Venue” and featured in Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives TV with Guy Fieri.) View Feature
Maxfield Parrish Murals
On each of his development projects, Ian enjoys collaborating with artists of various disciplines. In an effort to brand Baltimore’s arts district, Ian has worked with local muralists to adorn temporary storefront coverings and permanent faces of his buildings, including these renditions of original works by Maxfield Parrish. Artistic expression has always been a part of the Parrish family. At a time when Burlesque was emerging as an artistic expression, Ian’s grandmother, Emma (“Bunny Holiday”) was a regular performer with Billie Holiday in the hottest jazz clubs on the East Coast. Ian’s father, Charles, is a prolific self-described “napkin artist”.
Gunpowder Nature Preserve
Ian’s 40-acre nature preserve was an assemblage of three parcels of land among the few remaining farms in the far reaches of Northern Baltimore, MD. The newly-established conservancy and organic farm is now a sanctuary for honeybees, Cashmere goats, and an impressive variety of edible and medicinal botanical species. “We’ve safeguarded rural farmland, restored wildlife habitat, and promoted forward-thinking sustainable design methods, and we’ve proven that good environmentalism can also be good business”, Ian said.
The Baltimore Eagle
After the death of its former owner and years of neglect, Ian’s acquisition of this landmark gay-friendly leather bar brought it into the spotlight and under fire by some who were fearful of a culture virtually unknown to them. “The Eagle is a judgment-free place where people can be themselves, and I support that,” Ian said. In a hopeful turn of events, Ian and his team gained the support of the opposition, rebuilt the 10,000sf structure, and launched the Eagle into the spotlight as Baltimore’s hottest LGBT-friendly nightclub and entertainment venue. Their soft opening drew more than 600 people with lines around the block. The Eagle has made news as far away as London, England, and has won an impressive list of awards. Press Kit
Charles Street Market ( Coming Soon! )
Welcome foodies, music lovers, artists, and eco-conscious urbanites of every kind to Charles Street Market – vibrant grocery, an energetic social hub and gathering space, plus energy-efficient residences offering live-work opportunities for the people of Baltimore. Ian recently proposed this vibrant retail concept to the City of Baltimore to revitalize and transform a parcel of abandoned, neglected lots in the City’s arts district. What’s the status?