Renovating and Reinvigorating Historic Buildings
Public use for the public good
All of the properties purchased by the county will remain public assets until flood mitigation projects are complete. The county will undertake an analysis to determine the best public use for the buildings. Once partial demolition of structures over the stream channel is complete, the buildings will be renovated.
The flood mitigation option selected by County Executive Ball as part of phase 2 of the Ellicott City Safe and Sound plan achieves the goal of prioritizing public safety while retaining more of Ellicott City's historic charm. The plan calls for the removal of 4 buildings on Main Street in order to complete critical capital projects and the partial removal of 6 additional buildings in order to remove constrictions over the stream channel.
As promised, in December 2018 the county resumed negotiations with property owners who received an official purchase offer under the previous administration. To date, the county has acquired 10 properties on lower Main Street, 4 properties on the West End, and 2 properties in Valley Mede. Structural engineers have inspected buildings where needed. Stabilization efforts have been completed, including the removal of the rear of Caplan’s, preserving the historic character of the façade.
Acquisition and Demolition Update
Green = Buildings or rear additions to be demolished. Historical building components to be salvaged
Purple/Pink = Buildings that will remain.
Blue = Approximate location of active flowing stream
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there plans to rebuild Caplan’s?
Since the County has acquired Caplan’s, significant measures have been implemented to stabilize the front portion of the building. This includes removing flood debris, installing permanent shoring and bracing, and planning for future improvements. The County plans to construct dry floodproofing at the new rear (south) side of the building, and also is currently working to develop conceptual options for reconstruction of the façade.
Why did Caplan’s get so damaged?
Caplan’s is situated at the bottom of the hill where Main Street turns, which makes Caplan’s both a focal point of the streetscape and more vulnerable to damage from flooding. Caplan’s is the first building along Lower Main Street that is built over the stream channel; and it has taken the brunt of the damage along the rear of the building from strong flood waters and storm debris.
What are the plans for the newly acquired buildings on Lower Main Street?
The buildings purchased by the county will remain a public asset until all flood mitigation projects are complete. All of the structures over the stream channel will need to be demolished in order to remove constrictions. The county will undertake a federal section 106 review in order to perform that work. In the meantime, all of the building interiors have been cleared of storm debris and water-damaged finishes. Many storefronts along Main Street have been rebuilt with display windows in order to provide a weather resistant and attractive façade while final plans are developed and approved.
Can the existing buildings along Lower Main Street be restored to the pre-2018 flood conditions?
The buildings along Lower Main Street will need to change based on hydraulic studies. No first-floor structures can remain over the stream channels.
What work has been completed on Lower Main Street?
Extensive work has been ongoing on the county-owned buildings on Main Street.