Plans Revealed for Harborplace Redevelopment

| October 30, 2023 | 0 Comments

Today, MCB Real Estate unveiled plans for a redevelopment of Harborplace at the Inner Harbor. The plan includes demolishing the pair of two-story shopping pavilions and replacing them with four new buildings with apartments, retail, and commercial space.

About the buildings from a press release:

  • A 200,000 square foot commercial building on Pratt Street, with an open public ground floor with publicly available conference spaces
  • A 200,000 square foot retail and commercial building that will house food and beverage options, including a 50,000 square foot publicly accessible roof top park on Pratt Street
  • An 8,500 square foot retail building in a 30,000 square foot park and 2,000 seat amphitheater, bounded by Light and Pratt Streets
  • A conjoined residential tower on Light Street with a stepped down design (32 stories and 25 stories) to maximize views. The building will include approximately 900 dwelling units, retail and commercial uses

The second building noted, which will be at 201 E. Pratt St., will be called the Sail because of its unique design shape. It will have a marketplace on the first two floors, and offer restaurant, venue, and commercial opportunities on the upper levels.

The plan proposes a reorientation of the intersection of Pratt and Light St. The cut-through that separates McKeldin Square from Harborplace would be eliminated, adding additional public space and merging McKeldin Square into Harborplace. The plan also has 1.4 acres of additional waterfront promenade space.

A new park in the center of Harborplace, called The Park at Freedom’s Port, will have a 2,000-seat amphitheater.

The plan follows a public process taken by MCB that included public forums, neighborhood association appearances, and canvassing.

MCB is led by Managing Partners P. David Bramble and Peter M. Pinkard.

Design firm Gensler was tapped to lead the redevelopment. Copenhagen, Denmark-based firm 3XN, which won a design competition conducted by MCB, will lead the design. 3XN was named World’s Most Innovative Architect of 2022 and won the International High Rise Award for 2022/2023.

In addition to 3XN and Gensler, the design team includes: BCT Design Group (Baltimore), Sulton Campbell Britt (Baltimore, MBE), Unknown Studio Landscape Architecture (Baltimore, WBE), STV, Inc. (Baltimore), Moffatt & Nichol (Baltimore), The Traffic Group (Baltimore County), RK&K (Baltimore), and Biohabitats (Baltimore).

“Harborplace is the beating heart of Baltimore – the place that is uniquely Baltimore that brings us all together. In recent years, it has reflected the mood of the City but not the hope of the City,” said Bramble in a press release. “This project and this design activates the waterfront in a way that ensures it is for everyone in our City, our region and our State. We prioritized listening to the community to hear what they wanted and married it to what could actually be built. I’m so proud to share these plans with all of Baltimore because we deserve an internationally renowned waterfront that belongs to all of us.”

“It’s so exciting to be part of this project – one that is fundamentally about celebrating Baltimore and its people. MCB’s vision for this project, and for the city of Baltimore is one that deeply resonates with me, and with us at 3XN,” said Kim Herforth Nielsen, founder and creative director of 3XN, in a press release. “For most of my life, Copenhagen’s waterfront was a working harbor – a place of industry, not somewhere where people would hang out, relax, or enjoy their city. The transformation of the harbor into a place for people has transformed the whole city as well, not changing Copenhagen but helping to emphasize what was already special about it. We see this project in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor as a way to do the same thing – to give people a place to be together and to celebrate their city.”

Harborplace was previously owned by Ashkenazy Acquisition Corporation, but went into receivership in 2019. The Light Street Pavilion had only two remaining tenants as of March 2022, but several temporary tenants have been added in recent months. While there were some significant vacancies, there was more activity at the Pratt Street Pavilion in 2022.

It was announced in April 2022 that MCB would take over the parcels after its bid was accepted by court-appointed receiver, IVL Group.

Many approvals will be needed to move the new Harborplace forward and MCB has stated construction could be several years away.

Waterfront Partnership President Laurie Schwartz told in September she supported “a complete redo” of Harborplace.

The Harborplace pavilions were completed in 1980 by The Rouse Company.

MCB owns The Rotunda mixed-use development in Hampden; has opened the first phase of the Yard 56 mixed-use project in Bayview; and is under construction on the Northwood Commons retail complex next to Morgan State University. The company is also planning a new skyscraper across from Harborplace at 300 E. Pratt St.

Renderings from MCB

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