BALTIMORE (WJZ/AP) ― The on-again, off-again talks of building a new arena in Baltimore are back on. But this time the venue could be in a completely new location. What does this mean for 1st Mariner Arena?
Gigi Barnett breaks down the plans.
Bruce Springsteen has played there. The Rolling Stones have too. And next summer, R&B songstress Sade’ comes to town.
Fans are set to pack the 1st Mariner Arena. But they’ll have to deal with few bathrooms, small seats and a building that’s almost 50 years old.
“Imagine what we can do with a new building,” said Frank Remesch, the arena’s general manager.
That’s why the city has renewed efforts to build a new concert venue. Two years ago, the sluggish economy stalled the project. But the question now is where to build it?
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said in a statement Thursday that city leaders are now looking at other possible sites on Baltimore’s west side. They’re also considering different financing options.
One location that city officials are considering would be near the Baltimore Convention Center. Remesch runs the arena. He says a new building will continue to attract bigger names and more family shows and help Charm City compete with larger cities like Washington, D.C. Philadelphia.
But only if it’s near the downtown area and has “the nice nuances,” said Remesch. “The easier to get in and out of…More parking…The rigging’s easier for the events.”
“It’s time to put out a bigger net and look again at what are possible sites, the pluses and the minuses,” said Jay Brodie.
Brodie runs the city’s development corporation that oversees the project. He says one idea to tear down the area and build a new one in the existing spot won’t work because that could put Baltimore’s entertainment on hold for several years.
“If the market is strong enough, people will come back, but you’re taking a risk,” Brodie said. “That’s a risk you don’t have to take. We’d rather not take it.”
The 1st Mariner Arena was built in 1962 and seats 14,000. Despite a lack of amenities, it has continued to draw major attractions including John F. Kennedy, the Beatles, Beyonce and Michael Jackson too.