Stakeholders representing the local commercial real estate development, brokerage, medical, and economic development sectors presented their opinion on deliverables needed to maintain the renaissance underway in Baltimore City at a recent seminar sponsored by the Baltimore Business Journal.
President, Downtown Partnership of Baltimore
“More than $6.5 billion is slated for investment into Baltimore City and residents are already starting to feel the progress and momentum underway. Public safety is foremost on everyone’s minds and we recognize that the squeegee situation is an issue that needs to be addressed and resolved. There is a sense of urgency among key stakeholders, the desire to move fast but also the realization that we need to move carefully and deliberately.”
Managing Principal, Harrington Commercial Real Estate Services
“The city has experienced several mini-renaissances recently, but none have provided the full effect or impact needed to sustain the momentum for the long-term. Pockets of the city have made significant strides – including the areas of Canton and Port Covington/Baltimore Peninsula, but the effort lacks cohesion and a strategic plan to take the next step. You simply cannot condemn a project like the Mechanic Theatre and have it sit there without anything getting done. Everyone is hoping that the transformation of Harborplace holds the key.”
Managing Partner, MCB Real Estate
“After several false starts, I truly believe the renaissance of Baltimore City is within our grasp but, to take this next step, we need to leverage all of our anchor institutions, get them on the same page and connect the dots. We need to maintain patience as progress will not take a small amount of time.
We plan to utilize our company’s core principles – community, engagement and programming – to return Harborplace to prominence and, once we have full ownership of the property, initiate conversations with the local community to help guide the redevelopment process. The promise of safety, security and connectivity will play an important role. Baltimore remains under-priced and investors are attracted to assets in which there is a strong value proposition, so we anticipate new partners coming here. What we know is that Harborplace will not be a mall and that we need to get this right because it is a symbol of the city’s upward trajectory.”
President & CEO, Baltimore Development Corporation
“Businesspeople and consumers are highly anticipating what will take place at Harborplace. They believe this is the key to the City’s resurgence and they collectively believe this is real – this is finally happening. Our anchor institutions are behind efforts to move Baltimore forward and drive growth. As out-of-towners visit Baltimore, they see our city in a much different and better light than what might be depicted in descriptions.”
Dr. Bruce Jarrell
President, University of Maryland, Baltimore
“Approximately 15,000-20,000 people come to the city every day, and we need to make sure they have positive experiences. We also need to examine ways to entice more partners here to continue the positive momentum. Look around and you will see many stars, but it is vital for everyone to be connected.”