America’s largest cities have “an outsized role in the country’s economic engine,” according to an article appearing in Business Insider, which ranked the largest metropolitan areas based on metrics that included unemployment rate, job growth, per capita GDP, GDP growth and average weekly wages.
Examining several of these categories, Baltimore City’s unemployment rate currently stands at 4.90 percent, compared to the national average of 3.5 percent while the average job growth rate was 3.9 percent in the third quarter, which is just above the 3.7 percent national average.
Several high-profile projects currently underway or being planned in Baltimore City – led by the long-awaited repositioning of Harborplace and the $200 million renovation of the renamed CFG Bank Arena – provides optimism that the city is turning the corner and headed to a renaissance.
“While campaigning for Governor, Wes Moore repeatedly linked the economic health of Baltimore City to the entire state of Maryland and hopefully his administration will make this a priority,” stated Jennifer LeFurgy, Vice President of Knowledge and Research for NAIOP. “The city is so strategically located and we see progress and potential at some of the high profile companies such as Baltimore Peninsula and the remaking of the Sparrows Point area.”
“Baltimore City was moving in the right direction until around 2011 but has lost considerable momentum since then due to atrocious leadership,” said Anirban Basu, Chairman and CEO of Sage Policy Group. “It is just simply impossible to have viable commerce in the city without assuring basic public safety. Let us see what the new governor can do with his ‘leave no person behind’ mantra. Pockets of the city are performing well economically, but other areas have essentially become unlivable.”
“For decades, the challenge has been developing new business but instead we have been fielding activity from existing companies moving from one place to another, particularly those in the traditional city center where buildings are not as sexy as new product in highly amenitized areas,” stated Terri Harrington, Managing Principal, Harrington Commercial Real Estate Services. “It is critical for city economic development leaders and the new state administration to establish incentives for companies to consider moving to those high vacancy areas, thus giving stakeholders the ability to compete for business, both new and existing.”
Jim Grieves, Vice President at MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services, says, “The good news for Baltimore City is that leasing activity for 2022 was just over 2.15 million square feet, which was the most since 2000… About half of those leases were a result of the State of Maryland agencies moving from the State Center to the Central Business District (CBD). This will bring approximately 3,000 new employees into the CBD over the next two years as the office spaces are built out. Hopefully, the influx of new employees to the CBD will push the city to focus on the safety issues which have driven many companies from the CBD over the last decade.”