Housing Authority of Baltimore City Begins Demolition of Perkins Homes

Taking down the 1940s-era public housing site marks a major milestone in $1B Perkins Somerset Old Town Transformation


(BALTIMORE | June 24, 2021) – The Housing Authority of Baltimore City’s (HABC) 1940’s-era Perkins Homes public housing site is coming down. Demolition of the six buildings that comprise the development in East Baltimore began today. 

“With these bricks starting to come down, we are witnessing the end of an era,” said HABC CEO Janet Abrahams, whose agency is overseeing the $1 billion Perkins Somerset Oldtown (PSO) Transformation Plan. “The future of this community holds great promise as one of inclusion and opportunity. You will see the manifestation of that promise very soon.” 

The Baltimore-based Berg Corporation is handling the demolition, which is being performed from the top down, using heavy construction equipment. Berg has been doing preliminary work at the site for several weeks.

Dust barriers have been set up along the property’s fence line to ensure debris is not released into the neighborhood. 

“The changes that begin with today’s demolition represent more than a future of modern buildings and parks. It represents the futures of those who have lived here and who will live here,” Mayor Brandon M. Scott said. “Baltimore’s PSO plan includes improving health and safety for residents, and increasing opportunities for education, employment and upward mobility. I congratulate HABC and all the organizations involved in moving this tremendously ambitious plan forward.”

Perkins Homes, built in 1942, consists of 629 apartments in more than 50 three-story brick barracks-style buildings, with a community center and various outdoor spaces interspersed between the buildings.

The structures had become completely antiquated. 788 new apartments will be built in their place on nine of the 11 parcels that comprise the Perkins footprint. The new development will include four-to-five story multifamily buildings, townhouses, and two over two buildings.

“This demolition and the construction that is to follow will make it so that Perkins residents can live here. I am excited to see the vibrancy of Perkins Homes revealed. This is monumental and a long-awaited opportunity for this community,” said 12thDistrict Councilman Robert Stokes.

The Perkins Somerset Oldtown project will reshape these three former public housing sites from areas of concentrated poverty into a Community of Choice, with a mix of low-income, working-class and market-rate homes, two new parks, and amenities not previously available in these traditional public housing developments. The plan integrates the new housing into the surrounding neighborhoods.

PSO covers an area spanning 244 acres in a community that housed nearly 6,000 residents. It is located within minutes of downtown Baltimore and the waterfront. Funding for the project was triggered by a $30 million Choice Neighborhoods Initiative grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  

The final six families still living at Perkins are due to move out shortly.

About HABC

HABC is the fifth largest public housing authority in the U.S., providing quality affordable housing for more than 23,000 households. The agency creates diverse and vibrant communities, provides opportunities for self-sufficiency, and builds pathways for strong partnerships. #bmoreHABC