Commercial development company Chicago TREND purchased the Edmondson Village Shopping Center on Aug. 16. The firm intends to begin rehabilitation of existing buildings before winter. (Photo Courtesy of Chicago TREND)

By Megan Sayles,
AFRO Business Writer,

The sale of the Edmondson Village Shopping Center in West Baltimore has been finalized.  Mayor Brandon Scott announced the purchase of the shopping center by Chicago TREND, an Illinois-based commercial development company led by Lyneir Richardson, in a statement on Aug. 16 after months of negotiations. 

The city of Baltimore has committed $7.5 million to the redevelopment, and a crowdfunding campaign for Edmondson Village residents and other community members to co-own the shopping center raised $454,000 in April. Chicago TREND expects that the project will create 900 construction jobs and 250 retail jobs in Baltimore. 

“Opening this door to the next era of the historic Edmondson Village Shopping Center’s future was a community effort through and through,” said Scott in the statement. “I am so grateful that Lyneir and the TREND team have led this effort by including the community’s voices, needs, and input every step of the way.”

The Edmondson Village Shopping Center has dealt with vacancies and disrepair for several years. It’s also been considered a hot spot for crime. In January, it was the scene of a mass shooting that left 16-year-old Deanta Dorsey dead and four other Edmondson High School students injured. 

The new development is expected to attract a grocery store, restaurants, a coffee shop and housing for area seniors. 

“After years of fighting to help change this shopping center’s situation to no avail, we are finally able to pursue a redevelopment that will help bring 21st century facilities, good jobs, and national retailers to this neighborhood. Baltimore is fortunate to have a partner who continues to prove his commitment to the residents who will be most impacted every single day,” added Scott in the statement. “With this new ownership, we’re entering a new day for this community in West Baltimore.”

Lyneir Richardson is the co-founder and CEO of Chicago TREND. The commercial development company was established as a social enterprise with a mission of strengthening urban neighborhoods, particularly those with large communities of color. (Photo Courtesy of Lyneir Richardson)

This is Chicago TREND’s second development in West Baltimore. In 2021, the company acquired the Walbrook Junction Shopping Center and ran a similar crowdfunding campaign for its renovation. 

Two hundred community investors participated in the crowdfunding campaign for the Edmondson Village Shopping Center, becoming co-owners of the development. Forty percent hailed from Baltimore, and they invested an average of $2,200, according to the statement. 

“We are very serious about strengthening the shopping center so that it is an asset for the community,” said Richardson, CEO and co-founder of Chicago TREND. “We know that people often refer to the proud history of the shopping center.”  

Edmondson Village Community Association President Monique Washington said this renovation is long overdue. She’s lived in the West Baltimore neighborhood since 2006 and headed its community association since 2008. 

“Everybody is looking forward to a new shopping center where we all can enjoy, meet up and have a good time,” said Washington. “We just want better for this area and for all the homeowners that live here. We deserve it.” 

Washington said the Edmondson Village community wants the majority of the shopping center’s stores to be Black-owned, and they want access to a quality, sit-down restaurant. 

She added that she wants Chicago TREND to ensure its design includes ample parking space so overflow parking and traffic jams do not become a problem for adjacent residential streets. 

Chicago TREND anticipates that rehabilitation to existing buildings in the shopping center will begin before winter, and site work will start in spring 2024. The project is set to be completed in 2025. 

“It’s time for change. I’m hoping that once the shopping center is finished, the homeowners, church owners, schools and stakeholders here will take pride in where they live and stop allowing certain behavior,” said Washington. “I’m a firm believer of giving people something to look forward to, and I believe if we do what we’re supposed to do, we can put Edmondson Village back on the map again.” 

Megan Sayles is a Report for America Corps member.