Affordable Housing Development Opens in Northwest Baltimore

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Kevin Johnson (white pants), Dorothy Johnson (wearing pink), and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (cutting the ribbon) were among the many people at the dedication of the Dorothy J. (AFRO/Photo Kamau High)

Residents and local government officials were on hand to witness the grand opening of the Dorothy J Luxury Apartments at 3915 Liberty Heights Avenue in NorthWest Baltimore on July 7. The apartments were dedicated by Kevin Johnson, CEO of Commercial Development, which developed the property, and named in honor of Johnson’s mother, Dorothy.

Commercial was first founded by Johnson as a drywall company in 1990 servicing inner city Baltimore, and throughout the years the company has developed into one of the largest drywall companies in the Mid-Atlantic and has grown to include construction management, contracting, and real estate development.

After partnering with a drywall contractor for a few years he began his own company and since then has helped Commercial expand and worked on buildings such as Maryland Live Casino, Morgan State University’s Fine Arts Center and M&T Bank Stadium.

Johnson grew up near the property and decided that the apartments should mirror the commitment he and his mother share for giving back to the community. When Dorothy Johnson herself spoke at the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony she expressed her pleasure with the outcome of the project and said “It is beautiful to have people who are interested in doing the right thing”

The property was finished 3 months ago and houses 44 units. The apartments are designed to be affordable to working families and come with amenities such as dry cleaning, concierge, a pool, a fitness center and high speed internet.

Those in attendance for the ribbon cutting and dedication included Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake, City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young, Councilman Carl Stokes (district 12), Councilwoman Helen Holton (district 8), Maryland State Delegate Samuel Rosenberg and Baltimore City Comptroller Joan Pratt.

Mayor Rawlings Blake addressed the crowd, saying, “This property, many of us had probably lost hope that it would ever be anything other than a derelict sight and now look at it, it is gorgeous… it gives me hope and optimism.”

City Council President Jack Young echoed her sentiments and described the project as “classy and worthy” and thanked Kevin Johnson for his dedication to the community. “It’s amazing what you can do when you have a vision and Kevin always had that vision.” He also stated that he hoped to see more developments like this one around Baltimore in the future.

Kevin Johnson called the project “the epitome of a dream and a vision.” Johnson was determined to hire other minorities for the project and he prides himself on having a large amount of minority representation within Commercial Group, the umbrella company for construction businesses.

Johnson appears to have no plans of slowing down and told City Council President Jack Young that there was another development coming soon to East Baltimore featuring that would house 275 units.