NIIF Investments

Historic Hooper House to be Restored as Creative Hub

Built in 1886, the James E. Hooper House served a variety of functions over the years but has been a creative hub for Baltimore artists since 2001. Unfortunately, the historic mansion at the corner of Saint Paul and East 23rd Street in Old Goucher caught fire in September 2022, resulting in extensive damage to the building and many of the tenants’ artwork.

After spending $2.6 million on a comprehensive renovation focusing on the preservation of the building’s historic features, Hooper House aims to reopen in the summer of 2024 as a community hub. The project will be anchored by a Black-owned restaurant (Mama Koko’s) and feature 20 offices/studios for local small businesses, a greenhouse, and an outdoor gathering space.

“I see Hooper House as a place for people to dream,” said Matt Oppenheim, owner of the building since 2018. Oppenheim’s partner on the project Michael Haskins, owner of the fashion brand, Currency Studio, lives nearby and echoed that sentiment. “We’d welcome clothing makers and people who work in dry goods. This is the kind of place an architect or designer would love,” said Haskins.

NIIF was proud to support this project with a $950,000 permanent loan to enable the long-term sustainability of this important community asset.