Hammerjacks Begins Construction Across from M&T Bank Stadium

| May 15, 2018 | 1 Comments

After years of planning, Hammerjacks has started construction at 1300 Russell St. in Stadium Area. The 48,000 sq. ft. live music venue, club, and beer garden will take the place of Paradox, a currently-vacant warehouse facing Ostend St. which was most recently the home to a ceramic tile company, and a smaller building connecting Paradox to the warehouse. The site is located across the street from M&T Bank Stadium.

Hammerjacks is owned by Hammerjacks Entertaiment Group (HEG), led by Kevin Butler and Andy Hotchkiss.

Lots H and J at M&T Bank Stadium are a tribute to the former Hammerjacks music venue that once stood at its second and most popular location at 1101 S. Howard St. Hammerjacks’ original location was at 1024 S. Charles St. in Federal Hill, the current home of Nobles Bar and Grill, and a later version opened at 316 Guilford Ave. in Downtown. Butler was unaffiliated with any of the previous three Hammerjacks locations, but obtained the rights to the Hammerjacks trademark in 2009 for $1,000.

The new Hammerjacks will feature a 2,500-person concert venue in a new building that will replace Paradox. The space can be modified down for smaller shows. The existing building facing Ostend St. will be renovated into a club/sports bar area that will feature smaller 300-person live music shows. An outdoor beer garden area will be constructed where the current connector building sits. The beer garden will have a pea gravel surface, gas fireplaces, and string lighting. The second story will feature an additional club area and offices. All of the sections of Hammerjacks will be connected.

Hammerjacks will have five event spaces for live music, corporate events, business meetings, high school reunions, weddings, and private events.

Along Ostend St., the property will have space for 3,000 sq. ft. of ground floor retail. Butler and Hotchkiss are eyeing a coffee shop and bike shop for the space. Hammerjacks is located along the Gwynns Falls Trail.

Contractor Morgan-Keller Construction has put fencing up around the buildings and asbestos remediation has begun on the former Paradox. The former Paradox and building connecting Paradox and the warehouse will be demolished next. Hammerjacks will completely open in early 2019, but HEG is hoping to have the beer garden open for some of the Ravens homes games this season.

The exterior design of Hammerjacks will be highlighted by brick, black steel, and the reopening and enlarging of windows on the club portion of Hammerjacks facing Ostend St. The buildings will also feature large Hammerjacks signs with its signature lightning bolt, as well color-changing LED lighting throughout the exterior. Entrances will be placed at the corner of Ostend and Russell, as well as a concert venue entrance and beer garden entrance on Russell.

Next-door neighbor ACM Steel was awarded the steel contract for the project.

Along Ostend St., Hammerjacks will have trees, planters, and bollards to provide aesthetic improvements, as well as safety precautions for pedestrians.

HEG has reached a deal to offer parking at nearby parking lots Lot N and Lot NN, as well as at a lot it purchased on Ridgely St.

HEG is also hoping to activate the 1300 block of Russell St., which dead ends at the train tracks south of Hammerjacks and is underneath the Russell St. overpass, into an urban plaza. HEG plans to paint and uplight the overpass and improve the block so it can host tailgates and events and add parking. Butler told SouthBMore.com those discussions are underway with City officials and the Maryland State Highway Administration.

HEG is looking to bring in bands, comedians, and entertainers from all genres and all levels of popularity for the concert venue. While booking all types of acts, Hammerjacks will host throwback nights honoring the heavy metal past of the venue. HEG is will bring in a national entertainment partner for booking acts and selling tickets.

The concert venue will have a moveable stage to modify the space down for smaller shows. It has a sloped ground level to provide good sight lines for concert goers of all heights. There will be a circular upper level overlooking the stage and ground level. The upper level will also have a VIP room.

“There will be big name acts at Hammerjacks, but we also love the little acts,” said Hotchkiss and Butler. Butler told SouthBMore.com that a big name band that typically plays at arenas has already contacted HEG about playing at the new Hammerjacks.

Hammerjacks is also interested in renting some of the adjacent parking lots in the area to put on music festivals.

Both avid music fans, Butler said his dream show at Hamerjacks would be The Cult or Iron Maiden. Butler was a big fan of Hammerjacks in the 1980s. Hotchkiss’ dream show would be Pearl Jam. Hotchkiss and his wife first met at a Pearl Jam show in 1995. Hotchkiss is from Montgomery County, so getting O.A.R. would also be exciting for him. He knew a couple of the O.A.R. band members growing up.

The club at Hammerjacks will feature 55 televisions for sports watching, a whiskey bourbon room that will feature Hammerjacks’ custom Makers Mark bourbon, and a craft beer room with more than 12 beer taps. HEG is talking to local breweries about partnering on a special Hammerjacks beer. The interior will have an industrial look and will feature exposed brick, columns, and concrete floors.

Hammerjacks will be open every day for dinner and most days for lunch. The menu will focus on “quality pub grub” and breakfast all day. Butler and Hotchkiss described the club as family-friendly and said the beer garden will likely be dog-friendly.

The club will have a bocce ball court, as well as beer pong, corn hole, video games, and Plinko. It will host DJs and have nights honoring Paradox, college nights, and trivia nights. “It will be an entertainment destination,” said Hotchkiss.

HEG will hire 150 to 200 people. Butler and Hotchkiss are looking to assist their employees in buying homes in nearby Pigtown.

HEG first announced the return of Hammerjacks in 2013. It was originally slated to be built at adjacent Lot N before the team focused in on the current location.

Butler and Hotchkiss certainly heard many questioning if Hammerjacks was actually happening and if it would ever open. Butler and Hotchkiss said they underestimated the time everything takes. HEG had to find the right property, perform a parking study, apply for an arena liquor license, work though the Baltimore City Planning Department UDARP and zoning process, and get the proper permits.

“I wish we could’ve held the announcement off until now,” joked Hotchkiss.

“I can’t wait to open, it’s time,” said Butler.

HEG is eying additional investment in the area.

Butler and Hotchkiss are also really excited about all the of the development coming to Stadium Area. They see Ostend St. and a retail corridor in the future that bridges the gap between Federal Hill and Pigtown. “Having Caves Valley Partners next to us is great,” said Butler.

Local developers Caves Valley Partners is part of the Horseshoe Casino Baltimore ownership CBAC, which recently purchased the building next door to Hammerjacks at 130o Warner St. CBAC has purchased several other properties along Warner St. and is planning the Southern Gateway Entertainment District which will include a six-acre, 65,000 sq. ft. Topgolf.

Other investments in the immediate area include the $275-million, mixed-use Stadium Square development by Caves Valley Partners; The Parker Building at 333 W. Ostend St., which is currently under construction for a conversion to 50,000 sq. ft. of offices by Himmelrich & Associates; and at 175 W. Ostend St., a new 10,000 sq. ft. Checkerspot Brewing Company brewery and tap room that is under construction.

Renderings courtesy of Design Collective 

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SouthBMore.com photos 

Inside the warehouse

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A sign from Parliament left at Paradox

Properties under the control of CBAC. Additional investments in the area marked with text and logos. Screenshot courtesy of Google Maps (click to enlarge)

About the Author:

Creator of SouthBmore.com and resident of SoBo. Graduate of Towson University and owner of Incept Multimedia, a full service video production company. 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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