Crown Cork & Seal relocated to Philadelphia in the late 1950s, and by the ’60s, new businesses had moved in, including Copy Cat Printing, which placed a billboard bearing its name on the roof, earning the building its nickname, the Copycat. Most businesses moved out in the 1980s, and gradually the space converted into residences. Today, more than 140 people live in the Copycat, including scores of artists, musicians, and other creative types.
In 2011, Alex Wein took a year off from college in San Fransisco, and when he moved back to Baltimore, he immediately got an apartment in the Copycat. “I soon realized what a machine it was; all these people cranking out these projects in all kinds of mediums: music, art, performance. So you start meeting your neighbors and they invite you into their places. It was a creative explosion,” he said.