Taking A Look at the Downtown Development Report

| May 21, 2012 | 2 Comments

The Downtown Partnership of Baltimore put together a development report tracking all of the completed, under construction and proposed projects within a one-mile radius of Light and Pratt St., which is our defined downtown, as well as projects in the mapped downtown area outside of the radius. Clearly there is a ton of money being invested in Baltimore right now and many more projects are on their way.   We are going to take in-depth look at some of these project and see what is in the works in Downtown Baltimore.  Keep in mind that planned projects should all be taken with a grain of salt and completion dates are almost always behind in development.

Downtown Development Report

Investment Statistics:

Within One Mile Radius

Completed in 2011:  $456,872,000

To be Completed Spring 2012:  $38,364,000

Under Construction Spring 2012: $625,224,000

Planned through 2025:  $2,486,050,000

Mapped Area Outside of One Mile Radius

Completed in 2011:  $20,725,000

To be Completed Spring 2012:  $1,100,000,000

Under Construction Spring 2012: $601,225,000

Planned through 2025:  $2,575,574,000

There is a lot of information in this report, and I recommend taking a good look at it – especially at all of the projects currently under construction with Google Maps open on your browser, but let’s take a look at some of the most interesting projects that have not been covered significantly in the past on SouthBMore.com.

Mixed Use

The Chesapeake Phase I (Under Construction):  This will be another huge boost of momentum for the area as Station North will be getting 8,000 square feet of restaurant space at the site of the old Chesapeake Restaurant on 1701-1709 Charles St. at the corner of  Lanvale St.  It will include several new restaurants and should be completed this year.  Phase II is in the planning stages and could include 80 apartments and 5,000 square feet of parking lot in the back.

Marketplace at Fells Point (Under Construction):  This is listed as under construction, but I have yet to see a shovel in the ground for this massive project for Fells Point leading into Upper Fells Point.  This is the block just north of the Broadway Market that is  mostly boarded up in preparation for this development.  It has been stalled for years and is a classic example of blight caused by developer stalling.  The projects will include 160 housing units, 45,000 square feet of retail and 120 parking spots.  Not only is this project huge for Fells Point and the Broadway corridor, but this project badly needs to start to eliminate boarded up properties in such a vibrant area.  Renderings

313-329 W. Baltimore Street (Planning):  This is a planned $75,000,000 development on Baltimore’s emerging lower Westside neighborhood.  This project would include 200 housing units, 8,000 square feet of retail and 80,000 square feet of office space. This project is planned by David S. Brown who is the same developer for the Mechanic.  Needless to say, this project could inject a lot more vibrancy into downtown and Westside.

The Gateway at Washington Hill (Planning):  If you have ever seen a huge fenced up field between Upper Fells/Butchers Hill and Johns Hopkins Hospital, that is the location for this development.  This would be a huge project to really help merge Johns Hopkins Hospital into some of the great neighborhoods just south.  This $70,000,000 project will have a McHenry Row-type feel, including 296 apartments, 18,600 square feet of retail and 425 parking spaces.  This project was recently purchased by a group from DC and is expected to break ground in the near future.  This would be huge for that area and will add some much needed retail.  Renderings

Poppleton Redevelopment Center/West (Planning):  This project in SoWeBo, adjacent to the UMB BioPark, could be SoWeBo’s equivalent of The Gateway at Washington Hill.  The project is on Schroeder and Amity Streets between W Fayette and Lexington. $70,000,000 is slated to include 90,000 square feet of retail and 268 housing units.  The BioPark is part of the $700,000,000 master plan in the area, so certainly a lot of investment is planned for the area, as well as a Proton Treatment Center that just broke ground.  This redevelopment would be huge for that area and could definitely trickle momentum into areas like Pigtown, Hollins Market and Union Square.

Residential

 521-545 St. Paul Street Renovation/Conversion (Planning):  Many of you have seen the vacant one-story buildings just north of Mercy Medial Center on St. Paul Street.  PMC Property Group, the developers behind 101 Wells, Abell and Greenhouse, are planning a 78-unit apartment building for the site which is an easy walking distance to Center City and Mt. Vernon.  I believe this project has been delayed over a parking issue (as it should) but they should be able to get it resolved.  This would add a lot of residences to downtown, which is really needed.

600 North Howard Street (Planning):  In my opinion, Howard St. downtown is our most embarrassing and disappointing stretch of real estate in this city.  Sure we have blight in many neighborhoods, including blocks full of boarded up homes in East and West Baltimore, but this is in the heart of Downtown and right along the Light Rail tracks, which shows it off way too often.  Landex is planning a $21,000,000 76-unit development for this terrible looking building on Howard Street.  Not sure if will happen or how soon, but this could be a huge splash of life for Howard St.


View Larger Map

Phased Mixed Use

Oldtown Mall Redvelopment (Planning):  If someone were to tell me that Old Town Mall is the most bizarre stretch of real estate downtown, I wouldn’t argue with that point.  You may of seen it when finding a parking spot for the Baltimore Farmers Market as it sits just east of I-83.  It features a completely closed outdoor mall, messy landscaping and an open air drug market.  The biggest challenge of this site is the fact that is completely surrounded by public housing and subsidized housing complexes.  If you look at many of these complexes around the city, they are also typically surrounded by disinvestment.  Discussing the issues surrounding public housing and Section 8 can be saved for another day, but you can’t deny its affects on surrounding real estate and the “Not in My Backyard” philosophy for many  communities.  I have seen this first hand with the immense fear a HUD sign caused at 1901 South Charles Street.  It will be interesting to see how this development shapes up in the future years, but there is nowhere to go but up.

Hotel

Recreation Pier-Aloft Hotel (Planning):  This Fells Point Pier, once famous from the show Homicide, is certainly an underutilized space in the heart of Fells Point Waterfront.  A 130-room hotel with 4,500 square feet of meeting space and 3,000 square feet of retail space is planned  for the historic pier.  The pier was purchased in 2010 so, needless to say, they should have started by now. This makes it questionable to when they actually will start, but this $47,000,000 project could be a great addition to Fells Point if it happens any time soon.

Those are some of the projects I found interesting and crucial to the success of Downtown Baltimore, but there is certainly a lot more going on outside what we discussed in this article.  History shows that the planning stages of a project don’t always lead to construction, but Mike Evitts of Downtown Partnership of Baltimore told SouthBMore.com, “capital leads to capital.”  So for every project that gets started, it could lead to several more that soon follow.  We’ll keep you posted, but there is certainly is a lot of new momentum for Downtown Baltimore.

About the Author:

Founder and Publisher of SouthBmore.com, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, father of three, amateur pizza chef, skateboarder, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at [email protected] and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
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