Oyin Grows on Greenmount

Oyin Handmade, photo © Edward Weiss for Central Baltimore Partnership

Picture Central Baltimore: # 1

This is the debut of our new online series, designed to give you a quick look at what’s happening in Central Baltimore.

What are We Looking At?

This is the September 16, 2022, ribbon cutting for the new home of Oyin Handmade at 1812 Greenmount Avenue. It’s also the debut of the site’s redevelopment by Ernst Valery, co-managing member at SAA | EVI, and his wife, Dana Valery, who served as project manager for the (estimated $5 million) reboot of the 30,000-square-foot building. Oyin is the anchor tenant, but there will be further build-outs for additional tenants as they come online.

Why Is It Important?

The fabulous new factory floor at Oyin Handmade’s new home at 1812 Greenmount Avenue.

1) It means that Oyin Handmade, instead of moving away, will expand its facilities and stay in Central Baltimore. Founded by Jamyla and Pierre Bennu in 2001, Oyin is a nationally recognized artisanal brand of “moisture-rich personal care products,” recently recognized by PopSugar as one of the “black-owned beauty brands to support right now (and always).” Oyin has been manufacturing (and retailing) here for more than a decade, and become a cherished part of the Central Baltimore community. Recently, however, their need to expand, and the limited amount of suitable space available, made it seem likely they would move on. Now they will contribute to the Central Baltimore community for years to come.

2) A large and important disused location on the key Greenmount Avenue corridor in Station North, 1812 Greenmount Ave., has been brought back to life. For the future of the corridor, the vacant building needed to be redeveloped, and more specifically – it needed to be redeveloped with with the community in mind. Ernst and Dana Valery of SAA | EVI, have a proven track record of just this kind of development. They came through fr Central Baltimore once again, as they kept construction moving ahead, despite the supply chain, and permitting difficulties, caused by the COVID crisis.

What Role Did the Central Baltimore Partnership Play?

CBP brought the developer and anchor tenant together, and provided a $190,000 grant from the Muldrow Fund. One of the key parts of (CBP’s Director of Commercial Revitalization) Jack Danna’s job is to serve as a matchmaker for commercial tenants (such as artisan manufacturers, makers, and artists) and developers with a proven track record of community-centric development. Jack was aware that the parcel had come into the possession of just such a developer, Ernst Valery. He also thought that a valued anchor tenant such as Oyin could be enough to get Valery’s SAA | EVI to launch the redevelopment, which is exactly what happened

Jack didn’t stop there, however. He also harnessed the power of the Neil Muldrow Business Development, which contributed $190,000 to aid the new project.

Brought back to life, 1812 Greenmount — a key parcel on the Greenmount Avenue corridor.

Who Are Some of the Key Partners Involved?

Johns Hopkins University, Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, PNC Bank and the William G. Baker Jr. Memorial Fund, are key contributors to the Muldrow Fund. Without their generous support, the fund’s $190,000 grant to Oyin Handmade would not have been possible.

Oyin Also received A $17,000 in-kind contribution of free design assistance from the Neighborhood Design Center’s Art Space Technical Assistance Program. In addition, Maryland’s Project Restore provided a total of $30,000 from the state’s program. Oyin is eligible for the grant because it is moving into a space that was previously vacant.

The broad diversity of speakers at the ribbon cutting for 1812 Greenmount Avenue (from lenders to builders, to elected officials to community associations) reflects the broad coalition that has coalesced behind its redevelopment.

Where Can I learn More About This?

For more information about business development in Central Baltimore and/or the Muldrow Fund, you can visit this web-page https://centralbaltimorepartnership.org/programs/ or contact Jack Danna jdanna@centralbaltimore.org. For more information about the redevelopment of 1812 Greenmount Avenue and Oyin’s history, you can read this in-depth article in the Baltimore Business Journal. For more information about Oyin Handmade, you can visit their website https://oyinhandmade.com/, or just keep reading your favorite national media – they get a lot of press.