An Amazing Comeback
During the Great Recession, entire streets were on the verge of emptying out – Calvert, Light, Redwood, Charles, and more. But Downtown Partnership, with the help of our public and private partners, turned things around, and we did it quickly. We attracted and supported developers and investors, with an unprecedented opening of 50 development projects and 40 restaurants in a short eight-year time frame. Indeed, it was just a few years ago that Downtown celebrated the opening of Under Armour Performance Center, Chesapeake Shakespeare Theatre, Everyman Theatre, Chez Hugo, Streets Market, 10 Light, One Light, 2 Hopkins, Mt. Vernon Marketplace, 300 Saint Paul, and the list goes on and on.
These projects didn’t happen by accident. National investors have been drawn to Downtown Baltimore and have purchased and updated several office towers. Hotel operators, financial lenders, residential developers, and restauranteurs have seen what many within the region overlook: the value in the DMA’s growing residential and employment base, central location, mixed-use potential, transit-connectivity, and varied architectural types.
The DMA boasts the region’s greatest concentration of employees with more than 58,000 people working here.
More than 70 leases for nearly 1 million square feet of space have been executed since 2015. Even with the addition of new office towers, the overall office vacancy rate has improved by 3% over the recession and has recently held steady at 16.5%.
Every new apartment constructed attracts a new resident. In this relatively small area, more than 8,000 people now call the DMA home (compared to approximately 2,000 in 2010). And the apartment buildings are maintaining an occupancy rate of 93%, which is extraordinary given how many new apartments are coming on line.
2018 and 2019
The pace of progress quickened in 2018 and remains healthy in early 2019:
• At least five new restaurants opened last year - Chez Hugo, La Calle, The Red Boat, and others – and at least four major restaurants are opening within the next few months – The Alexander Brown Restaurant, R&R Taqueria, Blackwall Hitch, and Bon Fresco.
• At least four new residential projects opened last year – 225 North Calvert, 300 St. Paul, Franklin Lofts, and 414 Light.
• Three new hotels are under construction and/or nearing completion: Candlewood Suites, Cambria Suites, and Hilton Garden Inn.
• Numerous properties along North Howard Street, once falling apart, are under reconstruction.
• A brand-new office tower was completed at One Light and welcomed its lead tenant, M&T Bank.