ROUND DOWNTOWN by forrests

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Center Plaza

‘ROUND DOWNTOWN
a quarterly newsletter SUMMER ISSUE
GoDowntownBaltimore.com
HIGHLIGHTS

2009

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PRATT STREET PROGRESS DINE DOWNTOWN GETTING IT DONE CLEAN, GREEN & FRIENDLY 2008/2009 STATE OF DOWNTOWN REPORT

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pratt street progress
At our Annual Meeting last fall, Mayor Dixon announced details of the Pratt Street redesign plan, one of the most ambitious redevelopment initiatives since Charles Center.. Since then, the redesign process has been guided by Downtown Partnership along with the Baltimore Development Corporation. While the multi-stage plan will take almost a decade to complete, private properties, such as One East Pratt (at Pratt and
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Light streets), are implementing changes recommended under the plan.

New sculptures have been installed according to Pratt Street Plan.

Also, the earthen berms on the north side of Pratt between Hopkins Place and Charles Street came down in time for Oriole’s opening day. Their removal dramatically brightened things and makes it much easier for people to walk and enjoy the area. The berms have been replaced with temporary landscaping and public art that was selected by the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts and installed by the Department of Transportation. Ultimately, the entire segment will be re-landscaped with new trees, grasses, street furniture, public art, and lighting. Next up will be a dramatic makeover of the plaza that surrounds the office tower at 100 Light Street. Now mostly a large cement expanse, the building owners plan to transform it into a park-like oasis with grass, trees, and flowers.

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dine downtown

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There may be a recession going on out there, but there’s no need to worry about inflation – at least not where Summer Baltimore Restaurant Week prices are concerned. Just like its wintertime companion, this summer’s event will give you selected three-course dinner menus for only $30.09. And many will offer two-course lunches for just $20.09.

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And we’ll even throw in a soup tasting for free. This year, for the first time, Baltimore Restaurant Week is kicking off with the Crab Soup Stakes. Join us at the Harborplace Amphitheatre on Thursday, August 6, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., to sample cream of crab and Maryland crab soups, and to help celebrity judges decide which area restaurant has the best recipe. BaltimoreRestaurantWeek.com has everything you need to know about Summer Restaurant Week including menus, OpenTable reservations, parking maps, and details about where to find locally sourced ingredients. We produce Baltimore Restaurant Week jointly with the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association. Special thanks to Harborplace & The Gallery for helping produce the Crab Soup Stakes.

Innovative restaurants and cafes are springing up all over, catering to all kinds of tastes and price points. So are farmers markets and organic co-ops that bring the farm right to our tables. We know from our market research that dining is, by far, the #1 reason visitors come to Baltimore from the surrounding counties. And it’s one of the top things out of town visitors want to do when they’re here. People who haven’t been Downtown in a generation are following their stomachs back to town. And, when they do, they’re getting a taste of more than just great food. They’re experiencing all the positive things that are happening in the city, first hand. That’s why we presented the Chefs & Wine Experience last year, and it’s why we launched Baltimore Restaurant Week in 2006. Both events are a way to engage food lovers and encourage them to explore new restaurants and experience this rapidly-evolving city. To expand on these experiences, we recently launched a new website, www.DineDowntownBaltimore.com, to promote Downtown’s culinary scene, and provide you with the latest dining news and special promotions. Each month the site will present exclusive dining deals at some of the area’s best restaurants…places like Pazo, Morton’s Steakhouse, and The Brewer’s Art, for example. We’ll also team up with local restaurants to promote special offerings, as we did with the popular Soft Shell Crab Week in May – an idea that was originally developed by Marcus Olson, the executive chef at The Brass Elephant. We hope you’ll visit this new site and that you’ll take full advantage of special dining deals during Summer Baltimore Restaurant Week and beyond.

CITIES AND FOOD
Good restaurants define great cities. A thriving food scene implies taste and sophistication, it underscores the creativity and entrepreneurialism of a community, and it provides places for people and ideas to come together, mingle, and regenerate. Once known mostly for crabcakes, Baltimore’s culinary traditions have been elevated dramatically in the past few years. The Charleston Group alone now has four of the top-rated establishments in the region. And they’re keeping some good company.

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getting it done
WORKING BEHIND THE SCENES

Downtown Partnership is proud to play a role in some of the most important projects that are shaping Downtown’s future. In the past year, we have been behind initiatives such as the Pratt Street Master Plan, the decision to build a new arena Downtown, and the launch of the Charm City Circulator. For every transformative project, there are dozens of others where our work is done mostly behind the scenes. Below are just a few recent examples.
KEEPING FILENE’S BASEMENT OPEN There was a lot of uncertainty about the fate of Downtown’s Filene’s Basement store earlier this summer. Nationally, the Filene’s chain was struggling and closed two of its three Baltimore-area stores, leaving only the Downtown Baltimore location at Lockwood Place open, before filing for bankruptcy. In June, a bankruptcy court auctioned Filene’s off and the winning bidder, the Men's Wearhouse chain, announced it would close the Downtown store. Immediately, we teamed up with the Mayor, the Baltimore Development Corporation, the store’s manager Vic Shepherd and his employees, and the owners and developers of Lockwood Place – David S. Brown Enterprises and A&R Development Corporation – to begin a full court press. We knew Downtown’s demographics justified the store’s continued operation. In letters and phone calls, we let executives at Men’s Wearhouse know that, nationally, Downtown ranks 7th for population density, 8th for the number of households that earn $75,000 or more annually, and that, with 113,000 employees, we rank 16th for employment density. We were making progress when the auction was challenged and a new auction was held. This time, it was won by the clothing retailer, Syms. The new ownership was familiar with the efforts to keep a department store open at Lockwood Place and they announced shortly after the auction that they would do just that. And, that’s why the Downtown Filene’s Basement location will stay open.

PHOTOS:

Filene’s Basement at Lockwood Place (above);

The Charm City Circulator makes its debut (right).

LOMBARD STREET RECAP During the recent Lombard Street water main break, you didn’t need Downtown Partnership to tell you how bad the traffic was. But most businesses in the area relied on us for constant reports about the conditions in the area, when their water would be back on, the status of data transmission lines, and, of course, how to maneuver around the detour. In addition to regular traffic updates, we released a set of alternate routes that provide commuters better ways to get to their destination. And, at our suggestion, the Baltimore Department of Transportation provided live video feeds to all its traffic cameras, so drivers can see what their route looks like before they get in the car. (Check out the alternate route maps and traffic camera feeds at our website, GetAroundDowntown.com.) When situations like this arise, Downtown Partnership is your direct link to information and necessary

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services. Whether it’s a water main break, a snowstorm, or just a busy weekend full of events, find out all you need to know at our website, GoDowntownBaltimore.com, and our trafficrelated website, GetAroundDowntown.com. CLEANING UP THE BLOCK Baltimore’s infamous “Block” just got a little smaller thanks to an agreement that no new adult entertainment businesses can open at 400 and 401 East Baltimore Street, and that no club can create a new entrance on Commerce Street. We are also pleased to report that, after a year of negotiations, we have signed an agreement with businesses on The Block requiring them to pay for two uniformed Baltimore City Police officers who will patrol the area between the hours of 7 p.m. and 3 p.m. every Thursday through Saturday night. Love it or hate it, The Block is part of Downtown and a very visible one at that. This stretch of bars and adult entertainment venues in City Center abuts several financial office buildings, City offices, police headquarters, and City Hall itself. Over the years, it’s been the source of numerous complaints, typically having to deal with noise, trash, and liquor violations.

Downtown Partnership is changing that through the above agreements to keep things orderly and peaceful, and by working closely with property owners to improve the area’s appearance. For example, we have gotten several properties into our Façade Improvement Program and are installing new plants and other greening features in the public space. GETTING ‘ROUND DOWNTOWN The busses have been ordered, routes are being finalized, and everything is on schedule for the launch of the new Charm City Circulator. This fall, Downtown’s fast, friendly, and fare-free shuttle system will connect residents, employees, and visitors to work, shopping, restaurants, attractions, and transit connections like MARC, AMTRAK, and Light Rail. For more information about these, or any of our services, visit GoDowntownBaltimore.com and GetAroundDowntown.com, or email us at info@dpob.org.

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clean, green & friendly

NEW GUIDES HIT THE STREETS

A new class of Downtown Baltimore Guides (DBGs) is hitting the streets this summer after completing two weeks of classroom training and four weeks of training in the field where they were paired with more experienced Guides. In all, there are 50 Guides Downtown working from 10 a.m. - 10:30 p.m., seven days a week, assisting pedestrians, checking in on businesses, and providing outreach services to the homeless.

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Each DBG receives BEST (Behavioral Emergency Services Team) training to better assist the mentally ill among the homeless population and to direct anyone in need of assistance to the appropriate resources. They are also Certified Tourism Ambassadors thanks to a training program provided by the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association. For more information on the DBG program, please contact Bertina Silver, Director of the Downtown Baltimore Guides, at 410.244.1030.

With so much at stake, programs like Operation Check-In are a critical component of Baltimore’s tourism industry by helping our hotels, and our city, put the best foot forward.

GREEN TEAM
The Partnership’s Green Team is out in full force this summer. The five-person team focuses on daily maintenance of public spaces like Center Plaza, Hopkins Plaza, and Preston Gardens by overseeing the landscaping and setting out café tables and chairs. We are also supervising a sixmember team from Civic Works that is bringing added attention to Downtown’s green spaces and flower pots. With this extra summer help, we’re able to landscape and maintain sections of Downtown that haven’t received much attention in years.

O P E R AT I O N C H E C K - I N
Once again, Downtown’s Clean Sweep Ambassadors (CSAs) gave area hotels the white glove treatment. As we do at the end of each spring, the CSAs helped get ready for the busy tourist season with Operation Check-In, a special initiative to remove litter and graffiti, especially from the backs of buildings, service drives, and other areas that might not get regular maintenance. Overnight visitors are an important aspect of the Downtown and regional economies. Last year alone, Downtown hosted almost 12 million of them.

YOUTH WORKS
In addition to the six-member Civic Works employees with us this summer, we also support approximately 30 summer jobs through the Youth Works program.
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The Green Team is at work in Downtown Baltimore sprucing up public spaces.

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2008/2009 state of downtown report
As you may have seen in the news, this May, Mayor Dixon joined Downtown Partnership to release the results of the 2008 / 2009 State of Downtown Baltimore Report.
The report is our annual, and exhaustive, look at key economic benchmarks for Downtown. It found that, despite the underperforming national economy, Downtown’s key indicators were strong last year. The tremendous development and investment that have driven Downtown’s economy in recent years slowed gently in 2008 as developers paused to consider the effect that new and different types of inventory would have on the marketplace. By the end of 2008, there was $1.4 billion in completed projects, but plans for new growth were scaled back or put on hold as concerns about the national economy and an overly cautious credit market slowed the pace of development. Unlike the previous recession in the early 1990s, Downtown headed into the current downturn with a diverse economy and very solid fundamentals. While we expect 2009 to be a more difficult year as global economic factors trickle into local sectors, Downtown’s economy emerged from 2008 strong and well-positioned to take off as soon as credit markets and global investments stabilize. Both Forbes and BusinessWeek magazines named Baltimore a top city to ride out the recession. Looking at the data, especially the comparisons to other U.S. cities, you can't help but lose the longheld perception that Baltimore is still an aging industrial city. True, Baltimore is still working class, but these days that refers to entrepreneurialism, not just steel.
• Retail gains were tempered by concern about the health of national chains with local operations. • New hotel inventory included the Baltimore Convention Center hotel and several boutique hotels that awakened previously under-utilized areas of Downtown. Room occupancy was a respectable 61%. • Downtown Baltimore was a top 15 U.S. office market because of its low 13% vacancy rate. Class A office buildings performed well while older buildings struggled slightly. • Downtown’s 40,000 residents within a onemile radius of the Inner Harbor ranks 7th for population density, ahead of places like Boston, San Diego, Denver, Washington, Atlanta, and Portland. • Total employment dipped by only 1,000 jobs to a total of 113,500 jobs which puts us 16th in the country, ahead of places like Dallas, Miami, and Phoenix. • And we rank 8th for the number of households here that make at least $75,000. • Expansions by hospitals and life sciences companies kept investment totals up at $1.4 billion.

Download the complete State of Downtown Report, and the companion Downtown Development Report, at GoDowntownBaltimore.com.

K E Y S TAT E O F D O W N T O W N R E P O RT F I N D I N G S

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PRESRT STD U.S. Postage PAID Balto. City, MD Permit No. 2045

217 North Charles Street Suite 100 Baltimore, Maryland 21201-4101 GoDowntownBaltimore.com GetAroundDowntown.com

Y O U A R E C O R D I A L LY I N V I T E D T O T H E

Downtown Partnership of Baltimore 2009 Annual Meeting and 25th Anniversary Celebration
Wednesday, September 16, 2009 Hilton Baltimore Convention Center Hotel • 401 West Pratt Street
Join us for one of the region’s biggest and most prestigious networking events to celebrate Downtown Partnership’s successes over the past 25 years and honor the 2009 Downtown Baltimore Award Winners.

1984 Charles Street Management Corp. (CSMC) founded 1990 CSMC becomes Downtown Partnership of Baltimore

1992 Camden Yards opens 1993 Downtown Management Authority begins operations

1997 Power Plant opens 1998 The Ravens move to new stadium Downtown

2001 Marriott opens in Harbor East 2004 Hippodrome is renovated and reopened

2005 UMB Biopark opens 2006 Lockwood Place welcomes big box retailers to Downtown

2007 Center Plaza reopens as Downtown’s premier green space; Downtown welcomes SuperFresh 2009 Downtown Partnership celebrates its 25th anniversary

‘Round Downtown is published by Downtown Partnership for its members, friends, and property owners in Baltimore’s Downtown Management District. President • Kirby Fowler Editor/Photographer • Michael Evitts Design • Insight 180 Branding & Design • www.insight180.com


								
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