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July 16, 2024
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The Heart of Baltimore: 10 Businesses and Partners Shaping Downtown’s Future

July 1, 2024

For four decades, the Downtown Partnership has stood as a beacon of proactive and dynamic community engagement in Downtown Baltimore— advocating, innovating, and implementing transformative initiatives. With an unwavering commitment to Downtown’s evolution, we operate as a customer-service agency, dedicated to supporting the needs of a diverse stakeholder group under a singular mission: to make Downtown Baltimore a vibrant and prosperous destination to live, work, play, and invest.

In alignment with our mission, we are proud to spotlight ten businesses and partners whose commitment to Downtown Baltimore mirrors our own.

These entities have demonstrated remarkable dedication to enhancing our community, contributing to the vibrant tapestry of our city, and driving forward the vision of a thriving urban center. Each partner exemplifies the spirit of collaboration and innovation that defines Downtown Baltimore’s ongoing transformation.

1. Baltimore Convention Center

The Baltimore Convention Center is a proud advocate for Downtown Baltimore, annually bringing over 500,000 visitors and guests to experience the city’s vibrant neighborhoods and cultural offerings.

Located just blocks from the famous Inner Harbor, the Center provides easy access to attractions like the National Aquarium and the Maryland Science Center. Baltimore’s status as a medical and tech hub, home to institutions like the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins Hospital, adds to its appeal. This blend of culture, commerce, and education creates a dynamic and intellectually stimulating environment that’s both exciting and enriching.

The Baltimore Convention Center has been a longtime supporter of Downtown Partnership, sharing a dedication to revitalizing and enhancing the area. The organization’s mission to create a vibrant, welcoming, and economically prosperous city center aligns with the Center’s commitment to fostering community through events, programs, and partnerships. Downtown Partnership’s work has supported the Center by enhancing the overall appeal and vibrancy of downtown, making Baltimore a more desirable destination for conventions and events. Beautification efforts, streetscape improvements, and safety programs have contributed to a positive experience for visitors and attendees, encouraging them to return for future events.

2. Truist 

Truist Bank has long been dedicated to fostering community growth and economic mobility in Downtown Baltimore.

Truist Bank is a proud and long-time supporter of the Downtown Partnership, with deep roots through several predecessor banks. They are captivated by Downtown Baltimore’s picturesque waterfront and the blend of historical charm with modern amenities, creating a vibrant atmosphere for teammates, clients, and the community.

As a purpose-driven financial services company, Truist is dedicated to inspiring and building better lives and communities. They offer a comprehensive range of services, including retail, small business and commercial banking, asset management, capital markets, commercial real estate, corporate and institutional banking, insurance, mortgage, payments, specialized lending, and wealth management. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Truist is a top-10 U.S. commercial bank.

The Truist Foundation, established in 2020, furthers this mission by making strategic investments in nonprofit organizations to create more opportunities for economic mobility and strengthen small businesses. The Foundation focuses on equipping systemically disadvantaged workers, especially women and people of color, with tools and resources to secure middle-skill jobs, and supporting minority and women-owned small businesses by increasing access to capital and technical assistance.

Truist’s dedication to Downtown Baltimore is exemplified by their generous $100,000 contribution to the Downtown BOOST Program, which supports the success of BIPOC-owned businesses in Baltimore. Partnerships like these amplify the impact of the Downtown Partnership, making Truist a catalyst for positive change in the heart of the city.

3. BCT Design Group 

BCT Design Group has been a stalwart supporter of Downtown Baltimore, blending historic charm with future potential through award-winning design and collaboration.

BCT Design Group, a collaborative of award-winning design studios, has been a dedicated supporter of the Downtown Partnership for many years. With their office located downtown, they love the area’s walkability, inviting atmosphere, and proximity to restaurants, parks, and the Inner Harbor. BCT Design Group cherishes the blend of historic charm and future potential that Downtown Baltimore offers.

Specializing in urban design, architecture, interior architecture, and graphic design, BCT Design Group thrives on collaboration across disciplines. Their philosophy that great design is ultimately about people drives their innovative and inclusive approach. They have been honored with numerous awards, including the ENR Midatlantic Award of Merit for Residential/Hospitality and the Wavemaker ULI Baltimore award for Cross Street Market & Watershed.

BCT Design Group’s fond memories include visiting Lexington Market during the holidays as children and now as adults, enjoying the new market with its local vendors. They appreciate the Downtown Partnership’s support for their business and others within the community, and they look forward to the annual meeting held in the Plaza.

With over 50 years of experience, BCT Design Group continues to shape the future of Baltimore and beyond, contributing to the vibrant and prosperous community envisioned by the Downtown Partnership.

4. University of Maryland, Baltimore

The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) has been a cornerstone of Downtown Baltimore since 1807, fostering community and innovation in the heart of the city.

The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) has been an unwavering supporter of Downtown Baltimore since its founding in 1807, with a mission deeply intertwined with the success and vitality of the area. UMB thrives on the energy of the community, whether it’s the buzz from a Ravens or Orioles game or the daily vibrancy brought by nearby attractions like the newly renovated Lexington Market and CFG Bank Arena.

UMB’s dedication to Downtown Partnership’s mission is evident through their long-standing support and the recognition of individuals like Dr. Kyla Liggett-Creel, who received the Downtown Leadership Award for her impactful community partnerships. UMB values the continual progress and development in the area, from the refurbishment of the Hippodrome to the thriving new Lexington Market, which enriches the daily experiences of faculty, staff, and students.

As Maryland’s public health, law, and human services university, UMB is committed to improving the human condition and serving the public good through education, research, clinical care, and service. Their core values, continually evolving to meet present needs, underscore their dedication to advancing both the university and Downtown Baltimore as vibrant, interconnected communities

5. BGE

BGE, the largest electric and natural gas utility in central Maryland, has been an integral part of Baltimore’s history and community for over 200 years, dedicated to innovation, sustainability, and active community engagement.

BGE, the largest electric and natural gas utility in central Maryland, has a rich history of over 200 years and a deep-rooted commitment to the Baltimore community. Founded in 1816 with the first gas lamp lit by Rembrandt Peale, BGE has been a steadfast innovator in energy services, serving more than 1.3 million electric customers and nearly 700,000 gas customers across a 2,300-square-mile area. BGE’s dedication to Downtown Baltimore is reflected in their active community engagement, including volunteer initiatives, educational mentorships, and significant contributions to local non-profits.

BGE’s headquarters in Downtown Baltimore serves as a central hub for their extensive volunteer efforts, such as clean-up and planting days in collaboration with DPOB’s Park Stewards. The company’s leadership, including President and CEO Carim Khouzami, who chairs both of Downtown Partnership’s board of directors, underscores their ongoing commitment to the vitality and growth of the downtown area. Through various programs and partnerships, BGE continues to support the community, ensuring a sustainable and inclusive future for all.

6. M&T Bank Exchange

The M&T Bank Exchange, part of the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center, is a vibrant community space in West Baltimore, dedicated to the arts, education, and events, and committed to the dynamic cultural landscape of Downtown Baltimore.

The M&T Bank Exchange, the newest addition to the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center, is a dynamic and flexible community space in West Baltimore dedicated to the arts, education, and community events. This historic venue, located in the former Eutaw Savings Bank building at 401 W. Fayette Street, underwent a $20 million transformation to become a hub for cultural exchange and creativity. With extensive renovations led by OTJ Architects, the space has expanded to over 12,000 square feet, equipped with state-of-the-art lighting, sound, and staging systems.

Since its grand opening on October 11th, the M&T Bank Exchange has quickly become a cornerstone of the downtown cultural scene, embodying the Hippodrome Theatre’s mission that “Live Theatre is For Everyone.” The venue supports the Hippodrome Foundation’s free outreach and education programs, introducing Maryland students and community members to the transformative power of the arts. As a proud supporter of Downtown Partnership of Baltimore since 2004, M&T Bank Exchange values the vibrant, diverse, and culturally rich environment of Downtown Baltimore.

7. COPT Defense Properties

COPT Defense Properties, the premier real estate provider of mission-critical spaces for the government, defense, and IT sectors, plays a vital role in shaping the landscape of Downtown Baltimore.

COPT Defense Properties has been an integral part of Downtown Baltimore’s growth and development, actively supporting the community since about 2015. Their investment in the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore reflects their commitment to the area’s well-being and prosperity. Downtown Baltimore’s vibrant community and cultural attractions align with COPT Defense Properties’ values, making it an ideal location for their mission-critical properties. They believe that Downtown Baltimore’s energy and excitement complement their focus on providing secure, hi-tech spaces for government, defense, and IT sectors. Through their partnership with the Downtown Partnership, COPT Defense Properties contributes to the continued success and growth of Downtown Baltimore, making it a better place for residents, businesses, and visitors alike.

8. Baker Donelson

Located in the heart of Baltimore’s downtown business district, Baker Donelson has been a pivotal part of the city’s legal landscape since 1903.

Baker Donelson’s connection to Downtown Baltimore is deeply rooted in the city’s history and growth. As a prominent law firm with a legacy dating back to 1903, Baker Donelson’s Baltimore office, originally Ober|Kaler, has been a fixture in the downtown business district. Headquartered in the heart of Baltimore’s business community, the firm has played an integral role in shaping the legal landscape of the Mid-Atlantic region. The office’s location in the vibrant downtown area reflects its commitment to serving the local community and contributing to the city’s economic development.

Since its founding, Baker Donelson’s Baltimore office has been known for its exceptional client service and commitment to excellence. The office’s 100-plus attorneys specialize in a wide range of practice areas, including health law, litigation, business law, construction law, and finance. Their dedication to quality, integrity, and respect has earned them a reputation as one of the most prominent law firms in the United States. In addition to their legal work, Baker Donelson’s Baltimore office is also actively involved in supporting the local community. In 2022, the office launched The Light of Baltimore Incubator, a partnership with Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, to support HopkinsLocal businesses and other area small businesses. Through initiatives like this, Baker Donelson continues to demonstrate its commitment to the growth and prosperity of Downtown Baltimore.

9. Wolf Professional Security

Wolf Professional Security, Inc. (WPS) has been a trusted security provider in the Baltimore area since 2008, founded by Brian Wolf, Richard Landsman, and Matthew McElwee, who together bring 86 years of law enforcement experience to the company.

Wolf Professional Security, Inc. (WPS) has been a pillar of the city’s security landscape since 2008. With a founding team boasting a combined 86 years of law enforcement experience, WPS is licensed and fully insured to provide services in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. The company prides itself on its use of licensed security officers, including active and retired law enforcement officers, as well as military veterans.

WPS is dedicated to exceptional service partnerships with its clients, employees, and surrounding communities. The company’s reputation for quality and value in providing security services to industry and government stems from its commitment to maintaining a superior organization and developing top-notch security officers. WPS aims to foster a favorable work environment for its employees, offering fair compensation, opportunities for participative management, and promoting diversity, professional advancement, and achievement.

10. Ellin & Tucker

Located in the heart of Baltimore’s downtown business district, Baker Donelson has been a pivotal part of the city’s legal landscape since 1903.

Ellin & Tucker has been a fixture in Downtown Baltimore for over 75 years, embodying a deep connection to the city’s history, community, and culture. Despite the challenges posed by events like COVID and the shift to hybrid work models, Downtown Baltimore remains the heart of the region, offering a vibrant and dynamic environment. The firm is excited to continue shaping the city’s future, leveraging its longstanding presence and commitment to the area.

Furthermore, Ellin & Tucker’s commitment to community service is not limited to this initiative alone. The firm has a long-standing tradition of supporting various not-for-profits through volunteerism, board and committee service, and sponsoring local fundraisers and events. This commitment is a testament to the firm’s belief in giving back and investing in the Greater Baltimore region. Through its actions, Ellin & Tucker strives to make a positive impact on the community and contribute to its growth and prosperity.

One of the most cherished memories of Downtown Baltimore for Ellin & Tucker is the opening of Harborplace on July 2, 1980. Harborplace was a beacon of social activity, drawing residents, tourists, and the business community alike. As the Inner Harbor undergoes revitalization under David Bramble and MCB Real Estate, the firm looks forward to witnessing the next chapter of this iconic location. Ellin & Tucker has been a proud supporter of Downtown Partnership for several decades, with firm members even serving on the board and executive committee. The firm values the Partnership’s dedication to bringing people and businesses together and creating a safe environment in Baltimore.