Big Projects In Store For Baltimore’s Inner Harbor

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Take the Inner Harbor to the next level. That’s the goal of a major revitalization plan, and it could end up with spectacular Las Vegas-like nighttime light shows.

Andrea Fujii has a look at the ambitious plans.

These are two big projects that could change the face of Baltimore. One involves the Baltimore Convention Center and a new arena. The other involves the Inner Harbor and a big water and light show. It’s all going to be financed with the public-private partnership.

The proposed revitalization plan includes a massive proposed new arena, hotel and expanded convention center in downtown Baltimore. It connects to the current Baltimore Convention Center, almost doubling its size, replacing the Sheraton on Charles Street. It includes 550 parking spaces. The arena would seat 18,500 people—big enough for major political conventions and perhaps a new NBA franchise.

“You build this building on the East Coast? Philadelphia is not happy. D.C. is not happy. Boston’s not happy,” said Tom Noonan, Visit Baltimore.

So who is paying for it? The hotel and arena cost a combined $500 million. The Greater Baltimore Committee says the Sheraton’s owner/developer would cover that tab. Taxpayers would pay the estimated $400 million convention center bill.

“This is the only convention center, the only convention complex in the state of Maryland that can address these types of conventions that come here,” said Don Fry, Greater Baltimore Committee. “So we think that there surely is a legitimate state investment.”

“That bill doesn’t sound like something that we want to pick up or do,” said one Maryland resident. “Nine times out of 10 that’s going to be on us anyway.”

The redevelopment would continue with the harbor with a new pedestrian bridge to connect Federal Hill to Harbor East, a new Rash Field and a Vegas-style water and light show around the harbor.

“I like the idea,” said one Inner Harbor patron. “I think it will be good for locals and tourists, especially if private money is being used to fund it.”

“I like it the way it is,” said another. “Now, an addition would be a plus.”

These projects would be the area’s biggest transformation since the William Donald Schaefer years and could take 4-6 years to complete.

There’s still a lot of uncertainty with this. A lot of proposals with the harbor they want public input on. All of that taxpayer money would come from a combination of city and state funds, and it’s unclear yet whether elected leaders would want to sign on to the plans.

The Greater Baltimore Commission says the arena will still make money even without a professional sports team.

Comments

One Comment

  1. Brad says:

    As a frequent fan of the Blast and annual staff member for one of the city’s biggest conventions (Otakon), the news of improvements to the arena and convention center is certainly welcome. We’ve needed to upgrade or replace 1st Mariner for a long time and expanding both venues can only bode well to bring in revenue for the city and enhance the experience for all who attend the numerous events there. At worst the new arena could give us back an arena/indoor football team.

  2. Bob Rynes says:

    WHAT!!!!! The article quote says, “Taxpayers would pay the estimated $400 million convention center bill”!! Why should the tax payers foot the bill to build a Convention Center, Foot Ball or Baseball facility???? That seems illegal to me. The tax payers of MD will never realize a single cent of any profits,,, I’d bet on that!
    This madness; spending tax dollars on these projects which will make millionaire investors / developers filthy rich HAS TO STOP!!!
    How do I go about having Congress, the Fed Trade Commission or some branch that has authority look into this??

  3. Debbie says:

    They are raising taxes and FEES on everything in MD and now they want taxpayers to fund improving downtown for the criminals who flock there.
    Welcome to the 8th most dangerous city in the nation.

    1. Danielle says:

      I was just thinking the same thing. Bigger attractions equals more visitors with money that they can be robbed for. The scary part is it is not always who you would expect to rob you. I was carjacked by 4 young girls and one was about 8 months pregnant. .Charm City lmao!!! Maybe about 4 blocks worth and it has to be during the day when police are present.

      1. Fabre says:

        perhaps they are hoping for gentrification.

  4. Debbie says:

    I applaud the idea of vamping up the inner habor area; afterall, Baltimore does not have a typical downtown area like Manhattan, Chicago, Atlanta, etc., so let’s think in a progressive way and elevate the citythat is strategically located between DC and Philly. However, something must be done about the crime in Baltimore City and the bumpy streeets. There is no point in raising the bar on the esthetics and at the same time allowing thugs to rule because fear of crime will only keep tourists numbers down. If you come to Baltimore for a convention and stay at a hotel at the inner harbor, where can you go once outside the hotel if you are not in to sports? Where are the swanky bars, clubs, and restaurants where one can feel relativelly safe in visiting? I feel safer walking around Manhattan at 10 p.m. any night than I do walking around Baltimroe after 6 p.m. I’m not alone in my thinking on this matter. Something drastic needs to be done to keep the thugs at bay. What about a citywide network to target crime and apprehend criminals in Baltimore City–private citizens helping the police???? Something worked in NY City a few years ago–find out what worked for Manhattan.

    1. Think About It says:

      How about pouring the $400 million into education, health, and family initiatives, community outreach, serious programs doing practical things to reach those at risk…then you will have far fewer thugs in the first place. The justice system is a desperate after-the-fact measure that cannot even begin to stem the problem. You have to address the roots of crime if you really ever want it to go down.

    2. Barb says:

      LOL – Baltimore was never “strategically located between DC and Philly”. “Strategically” means that somehow it was planned to be in a spot between these two cities. This is false. DC was the only planned-location city of the three. Baltimore “came” years before DC. DC was placed in (at that time) what was solidly the South. Baltimore was “founded” in the 1600s because of its location on the Chesapeake- not because of distance between any two cities.

  5. Michael says:

    A mayor and police force with balls changed Manhattan. We have weak and corrupt public officials.
    We have a mayor that wants to get fresh with baltimore instead of locking up the thugs and rats running the streets.

    Elect officials that can actually make a change instead of a lot of lip service and flapping of gums.

  6. Kurt says:

    Partnership = 95% public and 5% private…actually I don’t know for sure but it is a question that is burning in my mind. Consider this, we have just completed a project to bring formula racing to Baltimore. The slots have been slow coming and are questionable at best. The city just jacked up the bottle tax and all of the praking tickets and rates. Where are WE (Baltimore) going to come up with this money? It’s just a question that should really be answered.

    A new arena would be nice. I loved going to watch minor league hockey at the old arena. I would love to see it come back to Baltimore. We just need to know what the cost to the average city taxpayer is going to be.

  7. Chalkie says:

    What a joke, lets make the millionaires richer. All the stadiums in this state were built using the lottery scratch off money. So both the Ravens and the Redskins owners make a fortune off the stadiums and didn’t put 1 red cent into them. Angelos makes a fortune of of Camden yards, as does Ripken off of Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen. Now the want to spend $400,000,000 of the tax payers money on a project to make another millionaire richer. And you wonder why this state is in the shape that its in. That money from the scratch off (Stadium Authority ) should be going into taking care of our elderly and school systems, like Pa. lottery does.

  8. CJ says:

    you are a complete loon! Do you realize how much tax dollars are spent on things we/the state of md get zero return on at best with alot in the red and you want to get up on a soap box over improving the city’s harbor and trying to bring in more cash to the city and help stimulate the local economy as well. Im sorry you chose to live in waldorf and your car can’t reliably make a trip that far, don’t take that out on the rest of us

  9. VT says:

    HOW ABOUT THESE DEVELOPERS DEVELOP THE BROOKLYN / CURTIS BAY AREA????? ITS OVER-RUN WITH CRIME AND DEGENERATES BUT TOTALLY HAS THE POTENTIAL TO BE A REALLY NICE SPOT IN BALTIMORE.

    ITS RIGHT BY THE WATER, AND ONLY A FEW MINUTES FROM FEDERAL HILL. PEOPLE WOULD KILL TO LIVE THERE IF IT WASN’T RUINED BY THE BROOKLYN HOMES HOUSING PROJECT.

    SERIOUSLY, RELOCATE THE BROOKLYN HOMES RESIDENTS AND USE THAT $500 MILLION TO PUT UP CONDOS AND RETAIL, THAT’LL GENERATE A BUTT LOAD OF REVENUE.

    BE SMART BALTIMORE! WE DONT NEED AN IMPROVED HARBOR, WE NEED AN IMPROVED CITY!

  10. JackDaniels says:

    GET THE THUGS OFF THE STREETS OF BALTIMORE, THEN WORRY ABOUT FIXING UP THE CONVENTION CENTER, ETC……………….

    AND, THE TAXPAYERS THAT LIVE IN OTHER PARTS OF MARYLAND SHOULDN’T HAVE TO PAY FOR THESE IMPROVEMENTS……………..PEOPLE IN BALTIMORE SHOULD FOOT THIS BILL, THEY WILL REAP THE BENEFITS IF THERE ARE ANY, WHICH I DOUBT!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. bttty says:

    People don’t not come to baltimore bc it doen’t have a ~light show~
    they don’t come to baltimore because its the 4th most dnagerous city in the country

  12. cw says:

    I live in northeast baltimore and I have not been to the harbor in over 10 years. Due to the high crime and the high parking I find other places to go. The mayor lost my vote when she decided to redo the streets downtown for a racetrack when the roads around baltimore needs much more repairs. The more revenue he city brings in from events downtown the more our taxes are raised.

    1. andy says:

      CW,……Shhhhit, the very same people who allowed their kids to run wild in the streets, not go to school & get pregnant are now outraged because monies are being diverted away from their neighborhoods & down town. Guess what, You section 8ers don’t pay taxes & racing does. Get a life. Better yet, keep your daughters legs closed, your boys known whereabouts after 7pm & have them attend school with you as parents being responsible. Then we will be on our way to a better Baltimore.

      1. cw says:

        Sorry Andy, I’m not a section 8er. My house is paid for. My son is 23 and in the military. My son was an honor student at City and never been to jail and have no children. I was an involved parent. Thanks for your comment.

  13. Mary Jane says:

    AMEN cw Let’s go even a little bit further tear down and build back up the neighborhoods in the city. Put people to work make the houses affordable so that city residents can buy the homes and become home owners. Fix the streets and the big potholes, the city needs to do some GRASS cutting in the NE section of the city. Again FIX up the neighborhoods than fix up your ALL MIGHTY harbor. I am like CW I do not visit the harbor. Over priced and the parking SUCKS.

    1. andy says:

      M.J. It’s your race that ruined B’more. Stop being in denial & accept responsibility. Now go have a lake trout dinner @ the phony fish takeout & think about that ok?

  14. Skylar says:

    So many negative comments. I actually like the idea. It gives Baltimore a chance to be recognized for something other than a mediocre harbor/downtown area. It has potential to bring in a lot of visitors/tourist which in turn will bring revenue to the city.

    As for other parts of the city needing work, maybe the residents of Baltimore should come together as a sense of community and work together.

    1. overtaxed says:

      Great idea for Baltimore…but not for those living elsewhere in the State who have to cough up the money for this project. Many areas of the State are opressed with severly restricting regulations that hinder the economy, and then we are supposed to pay so Baltimore can prosper.

      But thats what you get with an ex-Baltimore mayor turned governor. Let the developers or the city pay and stay out of my pocket.

      The entire State is held hostage by the Baltimore-DC corridor.

  15. tweety79 says:

    great more money i have 2 pay out i feel as though if they want it they should pay for it.instead i pay for it and on top of that if i wanted 2 go i would still have 2 pay 2 get in.how about paying for something we want for a change.like cleaning up all the streets no matter where it is.or making the landlords fix up all their boarded up houses as well as the ones the city owns.fix all the damaged roads.not put something downtown that is going to draw more of a crowd and more voilence.think about it.charm city isn’t charm city anymore and nor will it never be.as long as we have idiots using our tax dollars for something stupid.

  16. Joe says:

    Fixing up anything in this city is like putting lipstick on a pig, it’s still a pig! This city is a dump and the people that live here need to realize it. As long as we continue to vote the same officials into office each time, from the gov to the councilman, we will continue to get these rediculous projects put on the table.

    I could go on longer but I realize some of you actually like this dump! For those of you like me, would the last tax payer please turn off the lights as you leave.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More From CBS Baltimore

Track Weather On The Go With Our App!
Your Podcast Network Play.it

Listen Live