Ashkenazy Plans Reboot of the Inner Harbor’s Harborplace Pavilions

| October 2, 2015 | 0 Comments

Ashkenazy Acquisition Corporation purchased the Harborplace at the Inner Harbor in 2013 and on Thursday it presented its first redevelopment plans for the two shopping pavilions, which opened in 1980, to the Urban Design & Architecture Review Panel (UDARP). “We are trying to bring Harborplace back and we are thrilled about this revitalization,” said Stephanie Mineo of Ashkenazy.  The corporation’s resume includes the redevelopments of Faneuil Hall in Boston and Union Station in Washington, DC.

MG2 is the lead architect on the project and told the panel that they have five objectives: 1.) getting back to the architectural basics of the properties, 2.) restoring it as a destination, 3.) making it an asset for locals, 4.) strengthening its front door to Pratt St. and Light St., 5.) and, reviving the Harborplace brand. New signage throughout the property will be a big part of the rebranding. This includes two proposed rooftop signs that would center on South St. and Conway St.

On the exterior, the plan is to “remove the clutter,” which was described as removing all of the awnings and greenhouse structures and updating all of the signage so that it works into the architecture. The plan also highlights the original concrete frame of the buildings and includes the addition of blackened steel frame, timbered wood, and a terra cotta or metal panel system.

Removing the greenhouses will allow for more sidewalk space on Pratt St, where the plan is to add landscaping and kiosks, as well as opening up the building more to the street. Two key problem areas for the pavilion have been the loading docks and trash areas facing the street.  Along Light St., the plan is to mask this by covering the area with a screen, as well as adding new landscaping to the area including a a green wall and a new stairwell and signage heading up to the second floor adjacent to the area, ending where Hooters is located. On Pratt St. the plan is to lower the trash area, add a green roof, and cover the entrance with a screen.

On the interior, the Pratt Street Pavilion will see the most dramatic changes. The building will be turned “inside out” by eliminating the mall-style layout. First floor tenants would go all the way through from the street to the harbor and be accessible from either side.

The layout for the upstairs includes restaurant spaces on each side for Pizzeria Uno and Tir Na Nog, but the large interior space in between would become The Market at Harborplace. Pictures of popular urban markets around the country were shown as inspiration. With large windows on The Market, Ashkenazy highlighted the activity that will be seen facing Pratt St. The Market will also have large outdoor dining decks on the harbor side.

Due to leasing issues, the interior mall layout will remain on the Light Street Pavilion.

Ashkenazy did not reveal a timeline or budget for the project at this time. Representatives also did not specifically mention any new vendors, but did repeat that they wanted it be a a greater asset for locals and not just for tourists.

The panel was critical of certain design elements, suggesting there could be more windows and fewer materials on the exterior. The panel suggested the Pratt St. pavilion could have a breezeway to prevent “walling off” the water from the street, but praised the plans’ “homage” to restoring the original architecture.

Waterfront Partnership President Laurie Schwartz told SouthBMore.com that she was excited to see this project move forward and that it was a good session at UDARP.

 

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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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