Once a poster child of urban revitalization, Baltimore’s declining Inner Harbor gets $67.5 million from the state to be re-revitalized

On October 23, 2023 at the second annual Baltimore Together summit, Maryland Governor Wes Moore announced that the State of Maryland will invest $67.5 million to redevelop and revitalize Harborplace on the city’s Inner Harbor.

As documented in the 2020 book, RECONOMICS: The Path To Resilient Prosperity, Baltimore’s revitalization of their Inner Harbor—the initial phase of which ran from 1958 to 1965—was long considered a model of inner city regeneration.

The effort pioneered the “critical mass” strategy, but failed to provide a strategy to extend that revitalization to adjacent neighborhoods. Some neighborhoods to the east—such as Fells Point—benefited greatly. Others, especially the impoverished Westside, saw little spillover benefit.

Partly as a result of that failure, the Harborplace retail complex at the heart of the renewal zone now itself needs to be redeveloped.

During the summit’s press conference, MCB Real Estate Managing Partner P. David Bramble announced plans to revitalize and redevelop Harborplace, representing a generational opportunity to reimagine Baltimore’s waterfront for the next century.

Governor Moore speaks during the Baltimore Together Summit press conference.

This is what progress looks like: People from all backgrounds coming together to deliver for Baltimore. We cannot take this moment for granted. Because today isn’t just about how we redefine a cultural landmark – today is about how we rewrite the narrative of a city,” said Governor Moore.

This is about ensuring our state’s largest city claims its rightful place in the American story. For this to be Maryland’s decade it has to be Baltimore’s time. And we will work together to make it so,” he added.

Baltimore Together: A Platform for Inclusive Prosperity is the culmination of a two-year process to develop the city’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy for the next five years.

Following a months-long community engagement process that touched thousands of residents, the plan presents a new, mixed-use waterfront that will promote environmental resiliency, enhanced open space and waterfront access, active retail and entertainment residential space.

Design board shown by P. David Bramble with a photo of the future plans for the Harborplace in Baltimore City.

Harborplace is the beating heart of Baltimore – the place that is uniquely Baltimore that brings us all together. In recent years, it has reflected the mood of the City but not the hope of the City,” said Bramble.

This project and this design activates the waterfront in a way that ensures it is for everyone in our City, our region and our State. We prioritized listening to the community to hear what they wanted and married it to what could actually be built. I’m so proud to share these plans with all of Baltimore because we deserve an internationally renowned waterfront that belongs to all of us,” he continued.

Under the theme Shape Baltimore’s Economic Future, today’s summit convened leaders from across the public, private, and social sectors, including Comptroller Brooke Lierman, Senate President Bill Ferguson, and Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott.

Governor Moore later participated in a fireside chat with Colin Tarbert, president and chief executive officer of the Baltimore Development Corporation.

The pair discussed the newly announced design plans for Harborplace, Governor Moore’s focus on Baltimore’s success and economic future, and Maryland’s Service Year Option, the first-in-the-nation public service year option for high school graduates that the governor recently launched.

Featured image of the Inner Harbor via Adobe Stock. All other photos courtesy of the Office of Governor Wes Moore.

View the Baltimore Together 2023 Progress Report and learn more about Harbor Place revitalization.

You must be logged in to post a comment