By Kimberly Eiten


BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A modern makeover meets historic charm. Downtown Baltimore is rapidly becoming one of the city’s most popular neighborhoods.

The annual state of downtown was released Wednesday. It shows the once commercial area has become a hub for living and dining.

Just on one stretch of street, you can see a mix of retailers, restaurants, and apartment buildings. Many of them are brand new.

That is what city leaders say makes people want to work and live downtown.

Downtown is the heartbeat of Baltimore. New construction, surrounded by old, in the city’s fastest growing neighborhood, bringing businesses to the downtown area.

“We thought that downtown kind of has a bad rap, and that was a good opportunity for us,” said James Shaffer, with Argosy Cafe. “There’s a lot development potential here.”

Shaffer opened Argosy Cafe on North Calvert in 2015.

“Pretty much right after we started construction, we saw apartment buildings coming online, new hotels, places that have been vacant for years ripped up,” said Shaffer.

Immediately pushing business through his doors.

The urban uptick has driven more than a third of Baltimore’s jobs downtown, but now when those workers clock out, they aren’t necessarily commuting out.

Downtown Baltimore holds 30 percent of the city’s businesses and 35-percent of it’s jobs. And now, nearly 43,000 residents, like Michael Manning.

“The Inner Harbor is great,” said Manning. “Everything is built up really nice. It’s a great place to live.”

That is why Kirby Fowler, with the Downtown Partnership, says it’s quickly become one of the most popular spots.

“As residents are moving in, we keep on filling up buildings,” said Fowler.

On top of more than 8,000 hotel rooms, he says downtown has become economically stronger, and it just keeps growing.

Even with the city’s population at a low, downtown has seen an 11 percent increase in residents in the last decade.

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