From left to right: Scooter Monroe; Jason Schwartzberg; Owen Rouse

Support for high-tech workers, urgent action by political leaders, better branding, equitable transportation and more assistance to local businesses: Those were some of the initiatives proposed during a NAIOP-MD roundtable discussion about “Building a Better Baltimore.” 

The March-April issue of NAIOP-MD InSites relates the discussion among Scooter Monroe, Vice President, Head of Office Leasing, Weller Development Company; Owen Rouse, Vice President of Investment Sales, MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services; and Jason Schwartzberg, President, MD Energy Advisors. The group talked about measures that could help Baltimore City emerge from the pandemic stronger than before. Here are a few key additional excerpts from the dialogue.  

Scooter Monroe: “The greater Baltimore-Washington, D.C. common market is recognized nationally for its concentration of cyber security and life sciences companies and tech employees. We believe this region should be touted for its lower cost of living, as compared with other high-tech capitals, such as San Francisco and Boston. A greater focus is needed on multimodal transportation to work towards less dependence on cars. Transportation also needs to equitably serve all neighborhoods.” 

Owen Rouse: “We need our leaders and decisionmakers to comport themselves with a stronger sense of urgency. Subtraction is needed versus addition. Remove some of the obvious toxicities we are facing in the city and address the negative that is Harborplace. We also need to rebrand parts of the central business district – micro neighborhoods – that have their own identity and can be tended to one building at a time. This requires some buy-in from the ownership as well as coordinated marketing efforts.” 

Jason Schwartzberg: “A renewed focus on economic development is sorely needed and, although we should not give up on our efforts to attract large out-of-town users, we should reemphasize efforts to help the companies that have a presence within our city. The state proposed more than $8 billion worth of financial incentives to Amazon to establish its headquarters here, with approximately $2 billion targeted for infrastructure improvement. Why can’t we funnel those funds, or a portion thereof, to support our local companies and help them grow and thrive?” 

Access the entire interview here