Apartment development boomed downtown, a shopping center opened in Canton, the development of Harbor East and Harbor Point continued slowly and fresh plans emerged for the Inner Harbor, the area around Penn Station and Towson.
In April, the Baltimore City Council approved a tax break for large-scale apartment developers, feeding a flurry of plans to convert under-utilized office space into apartments, including conversions at 520 Park and 10 Light Street.
More than 1,500 apartments are under construction or in planning, according to the Downtown Partnership, which estimates demand for 5,800 units. Much of the activity is downtown, although the city's tax incentive also applies to six other neighborhoods, including Reservoir Hill and Jonestown.
The ongoing residential rebirth also encouraged new retail. The $105 million Shops at Canton Crossing, a suburban-style shopping center on Boston Street anchored by a massive Target, opened in October and plans for a Walmart in Remington moved forward.
The year began with the amicable break-up of the developer of Harbor East as Michael Beatty parted ways with John Paterakis and H&S Properties Development Corp. Beatty Development Group will focus on the redevelopment of the 27-acre Harbor Point with a 23-story regional headquarters for energy company Exelon Corp. and other buildings.
H&S Properties retained its interest in Harbor East and announced plans to develop a larger Whole Foods, shopping and apartments at the site of H&S Bakery's existing distribution center. Distribution will move to the Hollander 95 business park in East Baltimore.
Harbor Point subsequently became embroiled in controversy related to use of about $400 million in public subsidies, including $107 million in tax increment financing bonds, as well as environmental worries about disturbing the cap on the highly polluted former Allied Chromium plant site.
In part to stem the shift of energy away from the traditional heart of the city, the Waterfront Partnership unveiled a master plan for the Inner Harbor. The plans, which echo ideas introduced before, call for upgrades to the promenade and turning Rash Field into green space, with an underground parking garage, as well as longer-term proposals, such as a pedestrian bridge over the harbor.
Hope bubbled up over the summer for a new mixed-use development on a parking lot at 300 E. Pratt St. after a Chicago firm bought the land, but any project is likely a few years off.
Development also popped up in other parts of the city. This spring, the University of Baltimore Law School moved into a flashy $114 million, 12-story building on Mount Royal Avenue. In September, the University of Maryland broke ground on a $305 million biomedical research building on the school's West Baltimore campus. The 10-story center is expected to be ready in 2018. Along the Jones Falls, Terra Nova Ventures opened the refurbished Mill No. 1 and announced plans for another smaller renovation at the Whitehall Cotton Mill on Clipper Mill Road.
Near Penn Station, Amtrak unveiled a master plan created by Beatty Development that calls for the construction of up to 1.5 million square feet of new residences and commercial space. The development of the roughly seven acres, still in its early stages, would cost about $500 million over the next decade.
Towson also experienced a development boom, with three multi-million dollar projects in various stages. Cordish Co. and Heritage Properties continued construction on Towson Square, an $85 million move theater and restaurant complex east of the traffic circle on East Joppa Road.
DMS Development proposed the $60 million 101 York project to bring 200 apartments and street-level retail along York Road just north of Burke Avenue, sparking some concerns about parking. And Caves Valley Partners announced plans for Towson Row, a $300 million mixed-use project along York Road, north of Towsontown Boulevard, with construction starting in 2015.
Although development moved forward in much of the region, plans to develop a "Harbor West" parcel ground to a halt amid bankruptcy filings and countersuits. Developer Patrick Turner, who started working on the idea in 2006, accused two firms of posing as investors to gain control of the property. Turner, meanwhile, was working to reorganize his company under Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
- Highway and Road Transportation
- Inner Harbor
- John Paterakis Sr.
- Patrick Turner
- Rash Field