South Baltimore Business Roundup

| March 16, 2015 | 2 Comments

Alibaba Mediterranean Cuisine Opens

photoAlibaba Mediterranean Cuisine opened at 1019 S. Charles St. in Federal Hill at the former home of Banjara, The Hill and Joey B’s. Alibaba will be serving Mediterranean and Middle Eastern appetizers, soups, salads, entrées, drinks and desserts.

Crossbar has applied to transfer the former liquor license at this location to its establishment on Cross St.

New Highway Exits for I-95?

If you have ever lived, worked or spent much time in South Baltimore, you have probably wished there was an easier way to get on I-95 South from Hanover St. as well as an exit for Hanover St. north off the highway. With major plans announced recently for Sagamore Development’s mixed-use development at Port Covington, Sagamore’s Kevin Plank spoke with the Baltimore Business Journal earlier this month about the road infrastructure:

In an interview this week, Plank said both the local road network and highway exit ramps will require changes to improve access to the area. He didn’t specify what he thinks should happen.

Plank would pursue a tax-increment financing plan to pay for the work, he said. Under such a deal, which must be approved by the City Council, the infrastructure would be constructed using loans that are paid off by property taxes generated by new development at Port Covington.

Significant changes on Hanover St. will also be studied as part of the Hanover Street Bridge Multimodal Corridor Plan.

Clark Burger Opens in North Baltimore

A team from Little Havana in Federal Hill has opened Clark Burger at the Senator Theatre in North Baltimore. James Clark, who has worked at Little Havana for more than 10 years, along with Marc Gentile and Scott Donnelly, two of the co-owners of Little Havana, are behind the new restaurant that specializes in burgers and poutine, a specialty from Clark’s hometown of Toronto.

South Baltimore Featured in The Buffalo News

The Buffalo News published an article this past Saturday titled, ‘What Buffalo can learn from Baltimore’s downtown football Stadium,’ in regards to a new downtown football stadium being considered for the Buffalo Bills.

The article goes in depth about the parking, light rail and events at M&T Bank Stadium and Oriole Park at Camden Yards and includes mentions of Federal Hill, Sharp-Leadenhall and Pigtown. From the article about Federal Hill:

When the stadium holds big events, fans also head to nearby Federal Hill for the bars and restaurants along Light and Charles streets.

The gentrified neighborhood of mostly three-story brick row houses – east and mostly south of the football stadium, a little more than a half mile away – is the closest area to the stadium to find bars and restaurants.

“There is a line out the door before the game, and afterward it comes right back,” said Patrick Dahlgren, owner of the Rowhouse Grille. “You can’t find a seat for an hour before and an hour after the game. It’s great for the neighborhood.”

From the article about Pigtown and Sharp-Leadenhall:

But the economic benefits that boosters said would lift up blighted neighborhoods and the jobs it would add failed to materialize. ZIP codes around Baltimore’s stadiums saw a 7.8 percent drop in the number of businesses from 1998 to 2011. And a struggling area known as Pigtown, just west of the football stadium, saw its percentage of properties under mortgage foreclosure leap from fifth to second between 2000 and 2011.

The lack of community improvements in neighborhoods like Pigtown and Sharp-Leadenhall left some residents bitter.

“There was the mentality that we had this big business owner coming in, and there was going to be this spread of wealth to everyone around the facility. I don’t think a lot of people understand that sports is a business, and it’s not a charity,” Raith said.

photo 5It is worth noting, however, the business growth in this area since 2011, which has covered since starting in 2012, as well as the $250 million investment currently going on in Sharp-Leadenhall and South Baltimore with Stadium Square. There has additionally been the opening of the new casino, a sports bar under construction, and a new Hammerjacks music venue in development, all within a block of the stadium.

Lacrosse Ball Tossed Across the Harbor

A video recently came out featuring local lacrosse professionals Paul Rabil, a Johns Hopkins graduate, and Drew Westervelt, a UMBC graduate, tossing and skipping a lacrosse ball across the frozen Inner Harbor from Pier Six to the Rusty Scupper, as well as over several other small distances. The video has gone viral with nearly 200,000 views and was featured on national publications such as The Washington Post, SB Nation, Daily Caller, BroBible, Sporting News, and more.

Check it out:

Christian Laettner’s Pigtown Interest

Last night many Americans tuned into ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary titled, “I Hate Christian Laettner.” Laettner was a college basketball star for Duke University in 1988-1992, played for the USA Olympic team dubbed as the “Dream Team,” and had a 13-year career in the NBA.  Many in the film described him as one of the greatest college basketball players of all time.

What many people don’t know about Christian Laettner is that he almost made a large real estate investment in Baltimore. Laettner, along with former teammate Brian Davis, once proposed building a $25-million minor league soccer stadium for former Crystal Palace Baltimore team in Pigtown/Carroll Camden in 2009. The proposal called for the redevelopment of an industrial property on the 1200 block of Wicomico St.

From a 2009 Baltimore Business Journal Article:

The $25 million soccer stadium could be the centerpiece of a larger mixed-use project to be built by Blue Devil Ventures aimed at transforming Carroll Camden into what one Crystal Palace executive called “a real destination.” The proposed stadium would be directly off major interstate highways and near the state’s planned slots parlor.

The plan never moved forward as the development company, Blue Devil Ventures, fell on hard times during the real estate crash. The property considered for redevelopment is still used as an industrial space.

The South Baltimore Now Podcast Latest Episodes Produced by Nathan Carper:

About the Author:

Founder and Publisher of, 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 and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.