M.J. "Jay" Brodie's August retirement ended a 16-year tenure running the citys quasi-public economic development arm — through two recessions, four mayors and a lot of change to the citys economic landscape. Brodie's efforts at the Baltimore Development Corp. werent the entirety of his effect on the city. He was deputy commissioner and then commissioner of the city's housing department from 1969 to 1984, playing a role in the creation of the Inner Harbor. But he took the helm of the BDC at a fraught time, when the organization was inevitably described as "beleaguered." The BDC worked on many big projects under Brodies leadership, from the rise of Harbor East as a second downtown to the long-running, lawsuit-plagued effort to revitalize the west side "Superblock." Critics — including some politicians — called Brodie's BDC too secretive (meetings were closed-door affairs until the state's highest court intervened) and too reliant on giving tax breaks to developers. Fans say Brodie is passionate about the city and worked hard to improve it. Brodie, 76, said Thursday that hes enjoying retirement — reading poetry, going to the gym, giving talks about the city. Brenda McKenzie, his successor, reached out recently, "so we're going to go have lunch together on Monday." But what makes him particularly grateful to have more time these days is that one of his daughters just had surgery on her right leg. He is, for at least a while, the family chauffeur. "I've been equipped with a cap," he said.
Jerry Jackson, Baltimore Sun