Reimagining Baltimore's Inner Harbor | WYPR

Reimagining Baltimore's Inner Harbor

Sep 23, 2019

The Inner Harbor, looking north from Federal Hill Park.
Credit AP photo by Patrick Semansky

Today, a conversation about what Baltimore’s Inner Harbor used to be, and what it could be.   

Since it was built in 1980, Harborplace has been one of our city’s signature tourist attractions, a centerpiece of Baltimore's downtown redevelopment.  Now, after years of neglect and declining profits, the "festival marketplace" has been placed in receivership. It’s losing money, it’s losing stores, and it’s losing patrons.  Compared to the glitzier Harbor East, is Harborplace a loser?

There are some who think we should convince new stores and restaurants to occupy the currently vacant storefronts, and others who think this is the moment to tear down much or all of it and re-purpose Harborplace as green space and non-retail space.  In a recent competition, entrants were asked to let their imaginations soar when it comes to what Baltimore’s waterfront could look like.  Today on Midday, a survey of some of the proposals to modernize the waterfront property, and what the redevelopment of Harborplace could mean for tourists, locals and local entrepreneurs. 

An artist's rendition of the Rash Field Park Plan-Phase 1
Credit image courtesy Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore

Some improvements are already underway.  Just last week, the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore and the City announced a public-private partnership to fund a major renovation of Rash Field Park on the southern side of the Inner Harbor.  Construction is set to begin in January. 

Joining Tom to talk about all of this: 

Melody Simmons covers real estate and economic development for The Baltimore Business Journal.

Laurie Schwartz is president of the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore.  They join Tom in Studio A. 

Daniel Campo is associate professor and program director of city planning at the School of Architecture and Planning at Morgan State University. He joins us on the line from Argot Studios in New York City.

We welcome listener calls, emails and Tweets.