On a windy Tuesday morning, more than 500 engaged members of Baltimore’s business community gathered at the Renaissance Harborplace Hotel for Downtown Partnership’s 2023 State of Downtown Breakfast, presented by Gallagher Evelius & Jones. This annual event marks the unveiling of DPOB’s State of Downtown Report — an economic snapshot of the previous year that tracks key data in office and employment, residential density, retail, and hospitality.
DPOB President Shelonda Stokes welcomed distinguished speakers Mayor Brandon Scott and Council President Nick Mosby, who echoed a need to focus on partnerships in order to continue the momentum of the reimagining of Downtown Baltimore. All were called in to spread the word of Downtown Baltimore’s renaissance.
“Through dynamic partnerships on the local, state, and federal level, both in the public and private sector, and especially within our local community, we can transform our city’s core into a thriving center for commerce, residential growth, and tourism,” said Mayor Scott.
To cap the event, we assembled an expert panel of local stakeholders to speak to their reasons for choosing Baltimore as a premier investment location. Councilman Eric Costello led the panel that featured P. David Bramble of MCB Real Estate (the company in charge of revitalizing Harborplace), Randi Bernstein of Oak View Group (the firm behind the redevelopment of CFG Arena), and Joseph Soleiman of Vivo Investments (the company revitalizing the Radisson and Holiday Inn towers, located at 101 and 105 W Fayette St).
“We’re thinking about an amazing core that allows you to eat, drink, live…all the way from President Street…down to the stadiums,” said Bramble. “We’re excited about opportunities to think bigger about our downtown and all of its activities.”
It’s clear that both local and national investors share in the excitement for the future of Downtown’s core, but we’re not there yet. Investment is at an all-time high — Downtown will see $6.5B in investment from 2018–2028 for mixed-use, entertainment, hospitality, and public infrastructure (only $1.5B of that has currently been spent) — and employment and residential numbers continue to rise. However, it’s no secret that in this post-pandemic landscape, Downtown Baltimore has struggled with high vacancy, low retail stock, and a lack of asset connectivity. While some may look at this as a negative, we see an opportunity. That arc is part of our post-pandemic recovery story. It has to be. Baltimore MUST have a strong core in order to thrive.
“We are in a renaissance,” said Shelonda Stokes. “The great urban reset, to take a line directly from previous State of Downtown guest Richard Florida, is truly an opportunity to reshape Downtown.”
While we take a moment to celebrate the wins of the previous year, it must be said that we cannot progress in isolation. We must maximize our organization’s impact through a combination of coordinated state, city, and DPOB strategies, as well as through increased public-private partnerships with investors, community members, and local businesses. Now is the time. We have the capital, the leadership, and the momentum. Our collective growth is dependent on the Central Business District.
You can read the full report here.
Presenting Sponsor Gallagher Evelius & Jones
Leadership Sponsors Baltimore Development Corporation, First National Bank, MCB Real Estate, Stewart Title, and Vicinity Energy
Community Sponsors Cushman & Wakefield, KPMG, and TEDCO