Projects

Downtown Rising: Baltimore’s Annual Meeting

Written By

Chris Richards

Date

September 28, 2017

Category

Thoughts

When the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore holds a party, you want to attend.

Especially when the party is held in an outdoor plaza that was completely redesigned 10 years ago, and symbolizes the transformation that’s possible when many groups focus their efforts on a specific area of a city. That was the backdrop for the 2017 Annual Meeting held by the DPOB, in the open air of Center Plaza with over 600 guests.

Helmed by Kirby Fowler, the Partnership likes to celebrate the city and its successful initiatives for attracting and retaining businesses and residents in the one-mile radius that the group oversees. This year was no exception, as there were two major announcements made during the party:

1) Downtown Baltimore has ample opportunity for housing stock.

2) High-end, boutique dining concepts are landing here in ways like never before. It’s an exciting time to be in Baltimore, and the event announcements really drove that home.

Baltimore Housing Outlook

Backed-up by data and research conducted by a third party firm, the Downtown Partnership announced results from its Housing Demand Study during the event. Often, it’s hard to gauge whether construction is too much construction, and in Baltimore it certainly feels like there’s a lot happening. But, most importantly, what the Housing Study confirms is that Downtown Baltimore can support between 6,700 and just over 7,000 new rental and for-sale housing units over the next five years. 

10 Light Street, Downtown Baltimore

With record leasing numbers achieved by several developers’ new multifamily properties, it’s amazing to imagine the continued pace of growth downtown. In fact,

“The more than 12,500 new apartments currently located across downtown Baltimore — with more on the way — don’t come near to oversaturating the local market as some real estate experts had feared,” says Melody Simmons of the Baltimore Business Journal.

Incoming High-end Dining

On top of the promising housing data, the Downtown Partnership also announced that the owners of Tampa’s renowned and photogenic Oxford Exchange are bringing the concept here to Baltimore, entering into a partnership to revive a historic block downtown. Taking over what is the storied and beautiful Alex Brown & Sons bank building (complete with Tiffany glass dome), the development will bring a world-class concept to the core of Baltimore’s downtown.

Oxford Exchange Tampa, FL

The Business Journal explains the owners’ interest in expanding from Tampa. Allison Casper Adams says,

“We always knew we would open another Oxford Exchange somewhere. We didn’t have in our head that it had to be in Florida. It’s fun for this come to fruition. I love the urban feel, being a walkable city.”

Just like its Tampa counterpart, the new concept will allow patrons to have different experiences, whether it’s a casual coffee break or diner to celebrate a special occasion. With the noted amount of apartments poised to come online in the next five years, a multi-purpose space that ties the downtown together with thoughtful day and night activation will be a welcome addition.

Having already been highly involved with the leasing and marketing of several key projects downtown, we couldn’t be more encouraged by the latest announcements from the Downtown Partnership. Properties like 1111 Light Street, The Munsey, and Stadium Square’s Hanover Cross Street apartments all stand to benefit from the attention and focus being directed toward downtown.

While Baltimore is known as a city of neighborhoods, for too long the core neighborhood had been overlooked as just a “business district,” a ghost town at night. That’s no longer true; while business is certainly booming downtown, the Annual Meeting made it clear that there’s much more to the story.