Jimmy Rouse: We need a new Harborplace vision in Baltimore, not destruction, of my father’s legacy | READER COMMENTARY

Baltimore-based developer P. David Bramble and his MCB Real Estate firm expect to tear down the Harborplace pavilions, the closed centerpieces of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor redevelopment built by James Rouse. File. (Jerry Jackson/Baltimore Sun)

David Bramble’s announcement that he plans to tear down the Harborplace pavilions represents a huge waste of time, money and opportunity for the citizens of Baltimore (”Harborplace pavilions in Baltimore will come down as part of redevelopment, firm says,” Oct. 2).

These buildings once housed a marketplace that inspired urban redevelopment throughout the world. They were second in this nation only to Disney World for drawing tourists to a single location. They could be reintegrated and made to be a centerpiece for the re-invention of downtown Baltimore.


At the very least, we should not allow these buildings to be razed unless a fully financed replacement for them has been met with public approval. Otherwise, we will end up with a disaster like the Mechanic Theater demolition at the heart of our city. My father had to put his vision for Harborplace up to vote in a citywide referendum. David Bramble should be forced to do the same before he is allowed to tear down Harborplace. This is too important decision for the city to have it made by the whims of a single person.

Harborplace fell into its present sorry condition largely because it fell into the hands of two out-of-town bottom line developers who had no feel for the city. What kind of developer forces Phillips to move down the street and replaces them with Ripley’s Believe it or Not? With the new influx of downtown residents, the opportunity exists now to reinvigorate Harborplace and make it again an attraction to both residents and tourists alike. There is no need to waste this huge opportunity by demolishing what is there.


A combination of some of my father’s original vision of having individual purveyors of produce, seafood, meat, dairy, etc. with small shops housing craftspeople and products made in Maryland could work better now than it did then. Maybe we could bring in watermen to sell fresh seafood right off the boat like in Washington, D.C. This would build on the success of the Sunday farmer’s market and recreate the amphitheater in between the pavilions as a showcase for local performance talent.

We need vision, not destruction. Don’t let this opportunity go to waste

— Jimmy Rouse, Upperco

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