South Baltimore’s Biggest Stories of 2013

| December 27, 2013 | 0 Comments

 

It was another newsworthy year in South Baltimore with many great headlines, stories and developments. Let’s take a look at some of the top news that shaped 2013 for our area.

photo#5.  1701 Light Street Seizure 

Concerns about the drug activity at the corner of Light St. and Heath St. in South Baltimore and Riverside were consistently voiced at neighborhood meetings and in the Thomas Johnson Elementary/Middle community. On August 28th, after years of litigation, the State of Maryland took action against 1701 Light St. seizing the property as an owner eviction on a violation of the Drug Nuisance Abatement Law.

A judge decided to award the property to the State of Maryland after a violation of the agreement between the community and the property owner involving the housing of convicted criminals and the use of the back shed for housing. At the time of the eviction, nine people were inside the property including the owner.

The property was auctioned on October 4th for $152,000. A new developer will be rehabbing the existing rowhouse as well as constructing a second home on the property in the near future.

Our article on the seizure was the most read article in SouthBMore.com’s history with more than 4,000 views in its first day of publication.

photo#4.  Continued Real Estate Development

The real estate industry suffered an epic crash in the late 2000s but, if the amount of investment and construction in this area are any indication, South Baltimore real estate has come surging back. Large real estate projects were announced, started and completed this year and home renovations were seen on almost every block. And, plans were consistently being presented for new projects at neighborhood meetings throughout the year.

Large construction projects began at 2 East Wells, Horseshoe Casino, and Riverside Wharf. Plans were announced for 900 E. Fort Ave. and Key’s Overlook, as well as many smaller townhome projects. Construction also resumed at Camden Crossing, a Pigtown townhome community that experienced a multi-year delay between phases.

7de9090ea3b679d7d072029aa94b5d66#3.  Crossbar Der Biergarten 

On April 3rd, plans for Crossbar Der Biergarten, an authentic German biergarten at 12-18 E. Cross St., were proposed by the Ryleigh’s restaurant group at a meeting at Federal Hill Main Street. The proposed biergarten would replace the former home of Turners/Billabong and the restaurant group was hoping to additionally extend it to 16 and 18 E. Cross St., the former home of Lanasa Produce.

A firestorm of opinions were expressed following this announcement, including editorials for and against the proposal in the Baltimore Business Journal, Baltimore Sun and Baltimore Brew, each leading to even more heated conversations in the comment sections.

With a liquor board approval needed for the expansion, Federal Hill Neighborhood Association (FHNA) and Crossbar were unable to come to an agreement prior to the June 26th Liquor Board hearing. After the three-and-a-half hour hearing, the Baltimore City Liquor Board denied Crossbar from expanding 12-14 E. Cross St. to 12-18 E. Cross St.  FHNA and their attorney Brooke Lierman, now a candidate for Delegate in District 46, also challenged the validity of the liquor license. This was dismissed.

Another proposal was submitted for Crossbar this fall and the Ryleigh’s group and FHNA are in negotiations. The validity of the liquor license was again challenged, this time in circuit court, but was again dismissed.

cropped-cropped-header1#2. Horseshoe Casino Underway 

Legislation to allow gaming in Maryland was passed in 2007 and now, six years later, construction for Baltimore City’s first casino, Horseshoe Baltimore, is underway after years of litigation with a prior licensee. The $400 million facility, operated by Caesars Entertainment, will open in Fall 2014 and will be located between Russell St. and Warner St. south of M&T Bank Stadium in the Camden Carroll Industrial Area.

SouthBMore.com was able to cover many developments of this project. This included local groups working to develop an area master plan, the Baltimore Casino Local Development Council working with the mayor on how to spend the local impact funds, local leaders lobbying for area improvements in preparation of the casino, the Baltimore City Police Department working on policing strategies, and more. SouthBMore.com was also able to speak with local politicians on the impact of the casino and provide photo updates of the construction.

As construction moves toward completion, a big story in 2014 will likely be additional real estate developments in the area surrounding Horseshoe Baltimore. Hammerjacks has already announced a $20 million rebirth at nearby Lot N and surrounding old warehouses have become some of the most sought after properties in the area.

Photo Via Reddit#1. The Ravens win the Super Bowl (Photo via Reddit)

If you’ve ever spent a Sunday in South Baltimore during a Ravens home game you know that it’s purple everywhere. Whether it’s a preseason game or a playoff game, the streets are filled with Ravens jerseys and the bars are filled like it’s New Year’s Eve.

The Ravens have been in the playoffs every year of the Harbaugh/Flacco/Rice era, but their January playoff run truly brought an unmatched energy to Federal Hill and the rest of downtown. Fans stormed the Cross St. and Charles St. area after the Ravens upset the Broncos in the divisional round, and even more people fled to the area after the Ravens clinched a Super Bowl appearance with a victory over New England.

During this time, YouTube videos of Ravens fandom received thousands and thousands of views and finding room for your elbow at a local bar was near impossible. There was a spirited Super Bowl sendoff in the Inner Harbor and the Today Show even broadcasted live from Charm City.

In a wild Super Bowl game, the Ravens claimed their second Lombardi Trophy and the excitement in Federal Hill became international news (pictures of the celebration were seen in publications such as The Daily Mail). On a personal note, I’ll never forget running down Charles St. to participate in the celebration and seeing door after door after door on every block fly open, as people exited their homes to celebrate. Minus a dead tree and a dented car or two, good, safe fun was had by Ravens fans of all ages.

The Super Bowl was followed by a victory parade that featured more people in the streets of Baltimore and in M&T Bank Stadium than they could practically fit.

Living in South Baltimore when the Ravens won the Super Bowl is something I’ll never forget and will talk about for the rest of my life. Let’s hope we can do it again soon!

Follow us on Twitter at @SouthBMore1

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, beach volleyball enthusiast, dog lover, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at [email protected] and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
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