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New Plans In The Works To Fill Downtown Baltimore Vacancies

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—The number of empty buildings downtown is growing. Now the mayor wants to do something about it.

Andrea Fujii has more on the new recommendations to get downtown business booming again.

The mayor is looking for more success stories like Milk and Honey–a six-month-old Mount Vernon cafe already attracting regulars to its mostly local fare.

“It was definitely to fill the need.  This building was vacant before.  There was nothing going on here.  The owners came in and revamped the whole place; it used to be a pharmacy,” said Ethan Cook, Milk and Honey general manager.

There are a lot of spaces that used to be something but now are rundown nothings.  There’s a 20 percent office vacancy in downtown Baltimore. That’s double what a healthy office market should have.

The mayor’s task force released its assessment on how to change the landscape.

“Downtowns are about foot traffic and people on the street.  So whether it’s a resident or an employee, we don’t care as much as long as there’s great activity.  ‘Cause once you get more people on the street, there’s better retail, there’s more safety,” said J. Kirby Fowler Jr., Downtown Partnership of Baltimore.

To fill all of the vacancies in downtown, the mayor’s committee came up with a few ways to incentivize people to move to downtown or start businesses: Attract new businesses such as start-ups or vendors working with current downtown companies; publicize new incentives such as tax breaks; and convert unused office space into residential.

There is also a marketing plan to be hatched focusing on downtown’s highlights. Businesses that are making it work ask for recognition so that they can stay in their locations.

“Publicizing and supporting local business.  It’s really important.  It would be easy to go to Trader Joe’s and get some of this stuff or go to Whole Foods, but I can come here,” Cook said.

Downtown Partnership is releasing its two-year study Thursday. One major difference is that their findings point to a need for better open, public spaces.

The task force has determined next steps but not specific timelines.

Comments

One Comment

  1. Eludius says:

    Why do you say “especially minority owned”? Do you not want white people to move back to the city? I would think that we shouldn’t care who moves to the city and opens businesses as long as they are honest hard working people.

  2. Doug says:

    For the good of society,
    start by castrating the poor.
    If you can’t afford to feed yourself,and your offspring,
    I can’t either.
    And I’ll add,you can plow the city under,just west of the inner harbor.
    It looks like a third world nation.

  3. BILL HOUGH says:

    WHAT DO YOU EXPECT FROM A CRIME RIDDEN CITY,TERRIBLE CRIME, TERRIBLE CITY, CORRUPT POLICE, WHAT ELSE CAN YOU ASK FOR. SHAME ON YOU BALTIMORE AND YOUR LEADERS.

  4. Somebody says:

    I still say people on Welfare should be employees of the city. just imgaine how clean the streets would be if they prompted these people who sucked the life out of the city to work. Also They should get monthly urine test before they get there lucky lotto gov’t check.

    The city is run down because the blood suckers let it happened and not contributed to the local businesses, only for the simple fact the Gov’t gave them everything for free.

  5. Ex-Baltimore says:

    Get rid of all the Hop Hop gangster thugs and filthy homeless drug addicts. No one wants to go into a city where you will be aggressively panhandled and beaten down into the sidewalk by roving gangs of violent black youth as has happened again and again. I don’t even go to the Inner Harbor anymore due to Baltimore’s dangerous and dirty black locals causing quality of life problems like those I mentioned above.

    1. An23153 says:

      Dirty black locals? I shower everyday, Thank you very much. And we don’t need you walking around our harbor ooo-ing and ahh-ing at everything. Stay home!

    2. MiMi d'Vine says:

      IDIOT, you should know that you dont have to visit the city to get involved in crime. In this day and age, crime can meet you at your doorstep…in the what once would assume to be a SAFE area..Just look at the doctor whos family was murdered and burned AT THEIR SUBURBAN home in Boston. People like you need to have something happen to you as a wake up call…I honesly hope crime knocks at your front door…then what…besides you probably get beat down by your spouse anyway.

  6. where is the $$$$$ says:

    BNK-RPT COMING TO A TOWN NEAR YOU

  7. jessie says:

    its about time someone did something with the abandoned buildings and houses. Dont talk about it…be about it

  8. Debbie says:

    Until you clean up the crime in downtown and provide reasonable parking ,downtown will remain deserted.. A recent trip for lunch resulted in a $14 parking fee in an underground garage. Ridiculous. And no stores were visited for fear of being mugged by the roving bands of thugs. And since light rail is just as crime ridden as the city that is not an option.

    1. Bob says:

      Because the city has gone down hill so much, all the city trash is taking the loot rail out to subs and now breaking into houses and robbing people.

  9. Sharon Lieder Graley says:

    iT DIDN’T LOOK LIKE THAT WHEN SCHAFFER WAS MAYOR

  10. Somebody says:

    The best thing I could say happen to me is when I moved out of the City. I worry less[ I mean I still worry], but no where near as much as I did living inthe city. I have been out of the city since 2003, I spent 23 years in the city. I’m white and I survived. imagine that.

  11. Loven Life says:

    Matt thank you for what you said. I was born, riased and lived in this city till 38 years of age. The problem is not just black look around at the white people in our city that are behaving just like the blacks and the whites are also a big part of these gangs. Funny no one said anything about latins yet. Fells point is full. As for the minoritiy I read this 5 times and still did not see that. Am I blind.
    If you are so down on Baltimore and also being a part of Baltimore move out of state not just out of Baltimore. I hate reading how negative everyone wants to be. Try taking an active role and help make changes. Read the news from other city’s they are in the same boat as we are. Go live in your bubble of a perfect world centuries this has been happening we just all look different

  12. mike landeck says:

    if you keep over taxing people ….they will not come. taxes now are only for short term increase in revenue. to build a strong society in the city you need to hold the taxes where they are and create incenitive to attract people to move back to the city witch in turn will attract business. If our government contiues to follow its current path things will get worse.

  13. Darrius says:

    WOW AS A 22 YEAR OLD BLACK MALE THAT WAS BORN AND RAISED IN BALTIMORE IM REALLY SAD TO SEE THESE COMMENTS ON HERE. THINGS WILL NEVER CHANGE AND ARE ONLY GETTING WORSE. THE SCHOOL SYSTEM IS SET UP FOR FAILURE, KIDS HAS NOTHING TO DO. POLICE FINDS REASONS TO ILLEGALY SEARCH OUR PERSONS CARS AND BUSINESS, AND WERE LEFT WITH NOTHING. WE DONT GO AROUND LOOKING FOR TROUBLE. I GRADUATED HIGH SCHOOL BUT COULDNT GO TO COLLEGE BECAUSE ITS UNAFFORDABLE FOR LOW CLASS PEOPLE. TRADE SCHOOLS ARE FAILURES ALSO. THOUSANDS ATTEND THESE SCHOOLS TAKE OUT LOANS AND CANT GET EMPOYMENT AFTER THEY GRADUATE. OYR RIGHTS ARE VIOLATED EVERY DAY AND NO ONE IS SPEAKING UP FOR US. WHITE KIDS ARE DOING THE SAME THING WERE DOING BUT ITS ALWAYS COVERED UP LIKE THE POLICE THAT BREAKS LAWS.

  14. Dave says:

    Too many pointy fingers and not enough mirrors.

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