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Downtown Baltimore is having a moment | Guest Commentary by Shelonda Stokes for The Baltimore Sun

April 19, 2024

By SHELONDA STOKES  via The Baltimore Sun on April 19, 2024 at 6:00 a.m.


For all the right reasons, Downtown Baltimore has been a preoccupation, a topic of intense focus, discussion and understandable concern among business and political leaders, residents and our city neighbors north, south, east and west.

As it has been for decades, Downtown continues to be the economic engine of Baltimore, generating more than $122 million in property taxes, 85% of hotel taxes, 75% of the parking taxes and 16% of all income taxes collected by the city. At the same time, Downtown Baltimore — with its major league sports venues, 26 museums, 20 parks, four libraries, 59 public artworks, dozens of restaurants and top-tier entertainment venues (including the new CFG Bank Arena that drew over 800,000 fans to the more than 124 events, including 38 sell-outs in just its first year) — continues to be the place to be, visit and, increasingly, call home.

As we just shared in our 2023 State of Downtown Report, Downtown Baltimore is among the fastest-growing neighborhoods in the city, with over 41,000 residents living within the 1-mile radius of the Central Business District. That number, consistent with the national trend of adaptive reuse of commercial properties into residential units, is expected to continue to grow, with nearly 7,000 new downtown residential units by 2028. And, as we know, with new residents comes increased demand for new retail, dining, leisure and entertainment options.

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