Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Downtown Partnership: "Center Plaza has growth potential"

Strolling downtown (PDF), I’ve often marveled at the way the crowds thin out as I make my way away from the Inner Harbor up Charles Street. Sure, the area around City Hall — and lately the area around Charles Center — seem to be busy at lunch time, and Mount Vernon is busy at night.

Still, it seems like tourists and others who aren’t familiar with Baltimore are reluctant to travel north of Pratt Street, let alone Baltimore Street. I saw something different last night at the recently-updated Center Plaza, where the
Downtown Partnership of Baltimore Inc. brought together hundreds for its annual meeting.

Guests described an area with the
potential for growth in retail and entertainment where flat, somewhat uninviting concrete and several empty storefronts stood as recently as a year ago.

Is it possible that Center Plaza, once a key piece of Charles Center’s 1960s redevelopment effort, could begin to draw visitors northward? What do you envision there, and is there any value to keeping tourists by the water so we locals can have the rest of the city to ourselves?

-ANDY ROSEN, Business Writer

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