Early bird tickets for Baltimore’s BEST party on sale now!

New downtown plan would fill vacant commercial space with residences

More commercial property owners should consider converting their buildings to apartments, given the high vacancy rate downtown.

The city should create a Tax Increment Finance district in the oldest parts of downtown to pay for capital improvements and encourage new development.

City leaders should condemn and acquire certain vacant properties when property owners let them deteriorate, and should set time limits for developers to move ahead with renovation of properties awarded to them by the city.

Those are some of the recommendations contained in a new strategic plan for downtown Baltimore that will be released Thursday by the Downtown Partnership, a nonprofit organization that seeks to promote and revitalize Baltimore's central business district.

Kirby Fowler, executive director of the partnership, said the plan represents the culmination of two years of work by members of his organization and other downtown stakeholders, in consultation with Tom Murphy, former mayor of Pittsburgh.

Fowler said he hopes the report will bring a sense of urgency to the need to fix up certain downtown areas that are not as vibrant as they could be, as the city and region seek to emerge from the recessionary climate of the past several years.

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad