Time: 9:00 – 10:30 AM
Location: Baltimore’s Westside
Brian O’Malley, Chair, Robin Budish, Art Cohen, Peter Duvall, Brian Greenan, Jeff LaNoue, Hans Mayer, Klaus Philipsen, Jimmy Rouse, Sandy Sparks
Meeting Format: Walking Tour of Baltimore’s Westside
Brian Greenan, Economic Development Officer with the Baltimore Development Corporation conducted a walking tour to update the work group on BDC’s efforts and strategy on Baltimore’s Westside. The Westside is a very important corridor for rail transit and its potential to support transit-oriented development and neighborhoods with more transit choices.
- BDC is writing its RFPs in a manner that requires mixed-use development and active uses on the ground floors, and also allows for developers/investors of all sizes to submit proposals. Respondents can offer to purchase one, some or all properties in the RFPs for “Lexington/Howard” and “Howard Street EAST/400 N. Howard”.
- Some RFPs require residential to be part of the submittals, such as the RFP for 400 block of N. Howard Street
- All vacant City-owned property in BDC’s portfolio in downtown’s west side has been recently offered in RFPs, except for the Mayfair Theatre site adjacent to the MTA light rail line.
- The areas we walked are all within an Historic District on the National Register, as well as within the boundaries of a legally binding agreement for preservation between the City and State (2001). The area is also within the Bromo Arts & Entertainment District, designated by the State in July 2012.
- In 2011, the Urban Land Institute (“ULI”) observed that “many of the existing [west side] assets are isolated and disconnected”, and recommended that the Mayor pursue the following action:
“The city should focus on strengthening connections, particularly on east-west streets, to link the university campus and the Central Business District. Green streetscape improvements, additional open space, and new way-finding and signage will also give the neighborhood a distinct identity.”
- The Mayor agreed with ULI’s recommendation that improving the quality of the built environment was a critical need, and wanted to work with David Rubin, a Principal with Land Collective as well as a City UDARP member, and Ziger/Snead Architects to draft a vision plan with downtown stakeholders on recommendations to improve the public realm.
Goals of draft Vision Plan:
- Enhance the Quality and Character of the Neighborhood’s Connective Tissue
- Create a Compelling, Flexible Framework
- Create a Distinctive Streetscape Character with Episodic Open Space
- Create both a Temporal and Permanent Program that adapts over seasons and years
- Create a Destination every walking minute
- Consider Neighborhood-wide Identity and Branding
Video: to view a very interesting 9 minute Westside video which includes commentary from Jimmy Rouse, click here: https://vimeo.com/9022133