The WestSide Initiative area is an aggressive public/private partnership for redevelopment to renew the west side of downtown Baltimore. Bounded by Charles Street to the east, Pratt and Camden Streets to the south, Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard to the west and roughly Chase Street to the north, the Westside Initiative is the most aggressive redevelopment plan for the Baltimore’s central business district since the 1970’s Charles Center Redevelopment Project. The WestSide vision is to create a dynamic, predominately residential, urban mixed-use neighborhood of approximately 100 square blocks that connects the adjacent five strong sub-markets: City Center, the historic center of downtown which is transitioning from Class B office space to a residential community; Mount Vernon and Seton Hill, historic residential neighborhoods; University Center, the academic, research and institutional center of the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB); University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS); and University of Maryland BioPark; and a small portion of the Inner Harbor, an east coast waterfront designation including shopping, entertainment and luxury living.
The Westside Initiative is also located within the boundaries of several other designated areas: Market Center Urban Renewal Area; Central Business District Urban Renewal Plan; Orchard-Biddle Neighborhood Development Program Urban Renewal Area; Mount Vernon Urban Renewal Plan; Inner Harbor Urban Renewal Plan; Market Center Historic District; Baltimore City Heritage Area; Baltimore City Enterprise Zone (EZ) and the Downtown Management District.
Nearly $800 million in public/private capital funds has already been invested in the WestSide including more than 1,900new residential units and more than 700 additional hotel rooms. By 2012, more than a $1 billion in private/public capital funds will be invested in the WestSide which is expected to create: a) approximately 1 million square feet (SF) of additional institutional and cultural space; b) 250,000 SF of retail and entertainment space; c) 300 additional hotel rooms; d) 400,000 SF of new office space; e) the preservation of historically significant buildings; and f) 2,400 additional residential units.
In June 1999, the Mayor and City Council approved amendments to the Market Center Urban Renewal Plan giving the City of Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) -- acting on behalf of the City -- with approval of Board of Estimates -- the authority to acquire and assemble certain properties for redevelopment. As a result, the first major site assembly by BDC was one square block -- Centerpoint, an $80 million mixed-use project including nearly 400 market rate apartments and approximately 30,000 SF of street level retail space was developed in 2006 by Bank of America/Centerpoint LLC. Phase V of the project, a former historic movie theater was donated to a non-profit, The Everyman Theatre, Incorporated for redevelopment as a 250-seat live performance theater. Construction is anticipated to begin in late 2010.
BDC, on behalf of the City, is completing negotiations with existing property and business owners to assemble a four square block area known as the “Superblock” bounded by Howard Street, Clay Street, Liberty Street and Fayette Street. Four development teams were selected to redevelop this area, each one to complement the uses of the other sites. The first project will result in up to 350 market rate residential rental units, 150,000 square feet of retail space, 850 parking spaces and 150 room boutique hotel. The $150 million Lexington Square – Baltimore Project will be developed by Lexington Square Partners, LLC consisting of Lexington Square Developers, LLC comprising ICS Baltimore LLC (Chera); BLDG Baltimore LLC (Goldman); Feil-Baltimore LLC (Feil) and Nakash-Lexington LLC (Nakash); and HAD Baltimore II, LLC (Harold A. Dawson Co., Inc.).
Other phases will include the C-W Superblock, LLC (The Cordish Company and The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation) development adjacent to the historic Stewart’s Building, a former department store and current world headquarters of Catholic Relief Services. The mixed-use project comprising residential, retail, parking garage and/or office spaceis contingent on the timing of the opposite Lexington Square site. In January 2010, the City began site demolition under the terms of their Land Disposition Agreement. The interim use of the site will be open green space to include landscaping and a potential for public art.
Carmel Realty Associates, an existing WestSide business and property owner, will develop 109 W Lexington Street and 119 Park Avenue together with their property at 117 W Lexington Street to create 30 residential rental units above and adjacent to a new 15,000 square foot Value Plus Store which will relocate from the 200 block of W Lexington Street.
Two additional development sites are still available in this redevelopment area and are currently offered through Request for Proposals (RFP) – Liberty Park RFP and Lexington 100 RFP.
The 10th Anniversary (1999-2009) of the WestSide Initiative marks significant progress and the development of several other projects: The Zenith Apartments; Hampton Inn – Camden Yards; Baltimore Hilton Convention Center Hotel; The Hippodrome Theatre at The France Merrick Performing Arts Center; Camden Court Apartments;39 W Lexington; Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower; Lexington Market;The Place Lounge; St. James Apartment; The Abell Building Apartments; Eubie Blake National Jazz Center; City Crescent Building; Stewart’s Building; Rombro Lofts Condominiums; 324 Park Ave; Congress Hotel Apartments; H&H Artist Housing and University Suites. In addition, successful business relocations retained in the Westside include: Grandma’s Candle Shop; Guss Woolens; Maish Auto Services; Blue City Fashions; Hippodrome Hatters; The Peanut Shoppe; Taj Perfumes; New Civic Deli and Bare Feet Shoes.
This effort is led by the WestSide Initiative Team. Please contact Kathy A. L. Robertson, Director, WestSide Initiative.
Copy last updated July 6, 2010.