A new commercial facility could replace the BARCS animal shelter in south Baltimore.
The shelter has been located at 301 Stockholm Street—right next to the Horseshoe Casino—since 2005, and city officials said there’s interest in expanding development.
“There is overall interest in new development in the area that would complement the Horseshoe Casino and stadium complex,” Anthony McCarthy, a spokesman for the mayor told ABC2 via email.
There’s no word yet on which developers are scouting the BARCS 3-acre property, but McCarthy said the goal is to find the shelter a new location within the next 3 to 6 months. Funding will ultimately determine how long it’ll take to complete the move.
“There has been ongoing discussions about the relocation of BARCS for several years,” McCarthy said, “but there is not current funding identified for the project.”
According to BARCS executive director Jen Brause, the move is more than welcome.
She said the shelter’s property has been at the center of development talks for a while now, which is a good thing, because they’re running out of room.
The current building, for instance, was designed to accommodate 10 employees, yet they’ve grown to a staff 75. The shelter takes in 12,000 animals a year, and the facility just wasn’t designed for that level of activity.
“We need to expand,” Brause said. “Everything that was in closets before is now in hallways. There’s no parking. There’s just nowhere for us to grow from here, and we need more space.”
Brause said the shelter is rented from the city, and while they’ve been given a list of available properties to check out, there hasn’t been any decision made about where or when they’ll move.
“We’re a non-profit so we’re really at the mercy of the city to help us find a good spot so that people will find us and adopt animals,” she said. “We want them to visit us, and adopt and be part of the organization because that’s the only way we’re going to save lives.”
McCarthy said the BARCS property would be offered through a public bidding process should the city decide to sell. He cited redevelopment plans outlined in the 2015 South Baltimore Gateway Master Plan which suggested the city, “Relocate the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) to create new development opportunities at this valuable waterfront site.”