A study of options for the stalled redevelopment of State Center in Baltimore envisions a range of ideas for the site, including apartments, a small park, commercial offices, retail shops or a grocery store.
But putting a sports and entertainment arena there ranks low as a potential option for the site, according to the state-ordered study that was released Tuesday morning.
State Center is a 28-acre property north of downtown that includes the 5th Regiment Armory and aging government office buildings. The area along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard has long been eyed for redevelopment, potentially opening a path for the affluence of downtown Baltimore to spread into impoverished neighborhoods in West Baltimore.
The spurned developer of State Center is trying to keep the pressure on Gov. Larry Hogan, after the state moved to cancel a deal that would have overhauled a large section of mid-town Baltimore with new shops, residences and offices for state workers.
Hogan directed the Maryland Stadium Authority to conduct a land-use study about options for the State Center site. Meanwhile, a separate study is evaluating whether an arena would work at the site, an idea that’s been suggested by Comptroller Peter Franchot. That study has not yet been made public.
The prior redevelopment plan for State Center included having the state government continue to use space there for state agencies, but the new study doesn’t expressly discuss options for how much space the state government might use or how many state employees could continue to work there.
The governor released the study in advance of a hearing with state lawmakers on the status of State Center planned for Tuesday afternoon.
Caroline Moore, lead developer of the State Center project for Ekistics, criticized the need for the study.
“State Center was planned with the community, by the community and for the community. No study was needed — particularly at taxpayers’ expense — to reaffirm what we learned over a decade ago,” she said in a statement.
The study ranked an arena as a “low” probability as a potential use on the site, but did not explain why. Elsewhere, the study noted the existence of another arena — the Royal Farms Arena downtown — within one mile of the site.
Other uses that ranked “low” include big-box stores, a shopping mall, large office buildings, a hotel, detached housing, a movie theater and a performing arts venue.
The study recommended that the state complete further studies, solicit input from residents in surrounding neighborhoods and issue a request for information to solicit ideas from developers.
In a statement, Hogan said he remains “fully committed” to developing State Center.
Baltimore lawmakers called on Gov. Larry Hogan Friday to drop the state's lawsuit against the developer of the $1.5 billion State Center project and come to the table to discuss how to get the midtown development plan back on track.
The governor criticized the ousted developers, who he said “have sought to force the state to pay outrageous sums for leases that weren’t executed and who have failed in their commitments to the state, and more importantly, the citizens of Baltimore City.”