Baltimore housing issues $464,000 penalty over demolition of historic former infant asylum without permission

The Baltimore housing department issued a $464,000 penalty to the owner of a former orphan asylum in West Baltimore, alleging that the historic building was demolished without permission.

The former St. Vincent’s Infant Asylum, which had been converted into apartments and was vacant, was torn down in February. The Baltimore Department of Housing and Community Development quickly launched an investigation.

Councilman Eric Costello, whose district includes the building, shared a statement on social media from the department confirming that the penalty had been imposed. The housing department could not immediately be reached Wednesday morning.

The contact person for the company that owns the building, 411 Division Street LLC, is listed in state records as Michael Chetrit, a New York businessman. He could not be reached for comment.

The building, parts of which date back to the 1860s, was abandoned in 2013 and badly damaged by a fire in 2015 that required the response of more than 100 firefighters. The company linked to Chetrit bought it in 2016 for $866,000, according to property records.

City rules give the property owner 30 days to contest the penalty. Until the charge is paid, no more work permits will be issued for the property.

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