Winter 2001 On Location: Baltimore
If you ask Baltimore natives what not to miss here in the Charm City, they’ll tell you without hesitation—the Inner Harbor. The city grew up around this harbor, still the heart of the city, with a beat still strong 400 years later.
First settled in the 1600s, Baltimore was formally established in 1729. Here you’ll find Fort McHenry National Monument, a battle site in the War of 1812. Nearby is the 1793 house of Mary Pickersgill, who hand-sewed the flag that flew over Fort McHenry—and inspired Francis Scott Key to compose “The Star Spangled Banner.”
The National Historic Seaport of Baltimore, the center of it all, overflows with old-time maritime chronicles. And with 173 miles of waterfront in Baltimore County, the area also offered an ideal venue for milling. By 1825, 60 flour mills operated within a few miles of the city center. Canneries, shipbuilding and transportation also contributed to Baltimore’s growth and prosperity.
After an early 20th-century fire that caused considerable destruction, the city rebuilt and thrived for a time; but urban flight ensued after the Great Depression. It took 40 years for the city to dust itself off, build itself up, and show the rest of the country a thing or two.
Today, Baltimore is the 12th largest city in the US. While the Inner Harbor is no longer the bustling deep-sea port and shipping center it once was, it is again a critical element in the city’s economic vibrancy nonetheless. That’s because in the 1970s, an exciting, viable urban renewal plan came to the fore—and the rescue. What better spot to develop a revitalization program for Baltimore than the Inner Harbor? And so The Rouse Company designed and constructed a landmark festival marketplace, a specialty-retail heaven for merchants and visitors alike. The Harborplace, both as a plan and a venue, soon became a blueprint for the revitalization of other US cities. Today, with 1.5 million visitors a year, this shopping-dining-waterside attraction is the city’s number-one visitor destination.
On the waterfront
In the following years, a cultural renaissance emerged on the waterfront, adding to the area’s offerings as a destination. The National Aquarium opened on the bay in 1981. Its sleek, 21st-century architecture and leading-edge exhibits and programs serve as a worldwide model. Other museums hug the waterfront. The Baltimore Maritime Museum is home to National Historic Landmarks such as the submarine USS Torsk, which sank the last two Japanese warships lost in World War II; and the cutter Taney, the last survivor of Pearl Harbor. And there’s the American Visionary Arts Museum, a showcase for the inventions and creations of “ordinary” people.
Other museums dot surrounding areas: The Babe Ruth Museum (he’s a city son); The Baltimore Museum of Art; B&O Railroad Museum; Edgar Allen Poe House & Museum (he was a controversial resident); The Walters Art Gallery; Public Works Museum; and The Baltimore Orioles Park and Museum. Baltimore’s cultural offerings also include professional theater, opera, and symphony orchestra; the science center; the zoo; and the aquarium,
The flip side of the area’s entertainment menu is Baltimore’s professional sports scene, most notably the Orioles on the diamond, the Ravens on the gridiron, and the Blast on the soccer field.
Baltimore’s other nickname, “Land of Pleasant Living,” reflects its discernible, long-standing neighborhoods. With its funky appeal, the town’s oldest neighborhood, Fells Point, features 18th- and 19th-century homes and warehouses, narrow stone streets and cozy coffeehouses. Historic Federal Hill offers galleries, antiques shops, and boutiques. North Charles Street has jewelry stores and galleries, while Lexington Market houses America’s oldest public market. Mt. Vernon, on the National Register of Historic Districts, is noted for culture, fashionable parks and galleries, and its own Washington Monument. And for ethnic authenticity, don’t miss a stroll through Little Italy and Greektown.
This much diversity offers cuisine to match, from five-star restaurants to sidewalk cafés and neighborhood eateries. And if you like crab, this is the place to be: the famed Maryland crab stars in specialties from crab cakes to crab imperial.
Here’s a bit of geography to orient you, and a look at some of the area’s notable centers. As a visitor, you’ll find great shopping. As a retailer, you’ll find a wealth of opportunity.
Baltimore is less than 70 miles from Washington, Philadelphia and Annapolis via major arteries that include seven Interstate highways (don’t leave home without a road map!). Thanks to this web of freeways, residents throughout the county and surrounding areas have good access to major shopping venues, as do the numerous visitors to the Baltimore area. But why not start at the heart of the city—the Inner Harbor.
Harborplace and The Gallery
Harborplace, considered the jewel in Baltimore’s crown, is actually two buildings—Pratt Street Pavilion and Light Street Pavilion—located at the center of the Inner Harbor. Harborplace houses a mix of more than 100 merchants, more than 50 restaurants and eateries, and locale-specific specialty retailers. All together, these retailers and restaurants make the complex the city’s top destination, with a high rate of returning visitors.
Pratt Street Pavilion has upscale nationals like J Crew, Thomas Kincade Gallery and The Body Shop, though no anchors per se. It caters primarily to impulse buyers, with specialty retailers like Hats in the Belfry, Yankee Candle, Black Market, Big Dog Sportswear, and Cigar Landing. (However, there are no RMUs here.) Restaurants and eateries on the first floor include California Pizza Kitchen and Cheesecake Factory; the food hall on the second floor houses a wide range of offerings such as Cajun Grill, Capitol City Brewing Co., New York Deli, and the two-story Planet Hollywood.
At right angles to Pratt Street Pavilion, and also on the water, is Light Street Pavilion. Here, nationals such as the Discovery Channel Store are joined by specialty retailers like All Wound Up (toys), Magnet Museum, Resortworks, and Scents for the Soul. In addition to the second level’s 12 RMUs—called the Light Street Shops—is a collection of very small (150 square-foot), very short-term in-line stalls. Among them are the Harborplace Store for logo merchandise; Celebrate Baltimore! and the Maryland Bay Company for local and regional souvenir items (both of these shops have been at Harborplace for 20 years); and the Baltimore Zoo gift shop. The Light Street Pavilion’s food court and numerous restaurants range from Subway, Johnny Rockets and Ben & Jerry’s to City Light Seafood Restaurant, Paolo’s Ristorante, and several Phillip’s concepts.
The specialty leasing program is a mix of stable tenants and those that change with trends and seasons. Specialty leasing contact: Robin Bessinger, 410.332.4191.
The Gallery, a short walk across Pratt Street, has upscale nationals such as Brooks Brothers, The Disney Store, Petite Sophisticate and Banana Republic, plus other retailers such as The Knot Shop and Night Goods. Eateries range from Salad Creations and Donna’s Coffee Bar and Cafe to restaurants like Bourbon St. Cafe.
Land of pleasant shopping
Time to venture out from the center of the city and see what the Baltimore-area shopping scene has to offer specialty retailers:
Baltimore/Washington International Airport (BWI) houses 24 food tenants and 26 merchants. Retailers and eateries include Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Just Plane Kids (sells Beanie Babies in six locations throughout the terminal), Flying Fruit Fantasy and Celebrate Maryland. Host Marriott currently holds exclusive rights to food and beverage operations, and BWI provides a number of sub-contractual agreements with various retailers. Specialty retail opportunities are limited at this time. Specialty leasing contact: Gary Davies, 410.859.7002.
White Marsh Mall (Perry Hall Blvd.) houses majors such as Macy’s, JCPenney, Hecht’s, Sears and Lord & Taylor (a recent addition), plus a food court, in a total of 1,146,000 s/f. Specialty retailers include Jake’s Dog House (merchandise for dog and cat lovers), Trendy Chasers (Pokémon and more) and its spin-off, You Go Girl (cool stuff for teens). The mall’s cart program of 25 units is always evolving. Specialty leasing contact: Nancy Fruman, 410.931.7100.
Eastpoint Mall, just 15 minutes from the Inner Harbor (Northpoint Blvd. and Eastern Ave.), was originally built as an outdoor center in the mid-1950s and enclosed in 1972. Since then, the 864,693-s/f mall has been renovated and expanded; the most recent, completed in late 1991, added the Atrium Café Food Court and Sears. Other an-chors are JCPenney, Value City and Ames. Eastpoint has 115 specialty stores including Heaven Scent (aromatherapy hot/cold pillows), Metabolife™, Simply #1 (T-shirts), UltraZone (the area’s only laser tag venue), and Sports Maniac (Orioles and Ravens merchandise). The mall has ten 4′x8′ RMUs and few temporary in-line stores: 95 percent of the tenants are permanent. The specialty-retail leasing program is always looking for trendy and unique products and concepts to present to its customers. Specialty leasing contact: Linda Pianowski, 410.284.0934.
Towson Town Center, west of Baltimore (Dulaney Valley Rd. and Fairmount Ave.) was acquired by The Rouse Company from Trizec Hahn in 1998. At nearly one million s/f, the center’s 220-store line-up includes Hecht’s, Nordstrom Rack, Crate & Barrel, Williams-Sonoma, Ann Taylor and Rainforest Café, and features 28 specialty retail locations, including Bear Wear (unique, upscale jewelry,) and Geppeddo (porcelain dolls). The upscale tenant mix draws from surrounding affluent neighborhoods. Specialty leasing contact: Heather Hammack, 410.494.8772.
Owings Mills Mall, northwest of Baltimore (Owings Mills Blvd.), was built in 1986. At 1.2 million s/f, this mall is anchored by JCPenney, Hecht’s and Macy’s, plus new additions Lord & Taylor and Sears. Twenty units are available for specialty retailers, which include Silver Mine (jewelry), Shady Characters (sunglasses), Knot Just Ties (men’s accessories), and for the holiday season, Santa’s Pen & Disc Gear (CD accessory cart) and Bungee Ball. Specialty leasing contact: Nancy Fruman, 301.469.6000.
TownMall of Westminster (formerly Cranberry Mall), which Strategic Resources Corp. purchased last April, is about 30 minutes northwest of Baltimore (Center St. and Rte. 140). Belk, Sears and Montgomery Ward are the anchors. Specialty retailers include Oren, a piano vendor who sets up nine baby grands throughout the mall; and Baugher’s, a local fresh-produce company that also carries jams and pies. With 14 kiosks and six temporary in-line stores, the mall seeks specialty retailers that keep up with trends, and is currently seeking a computer/Internet access-oriented retailer. Specialty leasing contact: Robin Clark, 410.857.0300.
Marley Station in Glen Burnie (Ritchie Hwy.) is home to JCPenney, Britches Great Outdoors, Eddie Bauer, Gantos, Gymboree, Weathervane, Petite Sophisticates, Northern Reflections and Little Folk Shop, among others, and a United Artists Theater. This multi-level, enclosed center also provides space for temporary tenants and carts. Specialty leasing contact: Rebecca Ballard, 410.766.2033.
Arundel Mills in northwestern Anne Arundel County just opened in November. Strategically located on the I-95 corridor between Baltimore and Washington, and just two miles from BWI, this 1.4 million-s/f mall (costing more than $200 million) boasts a mix of outlets and specialty retailers—Bed Bath & Beyond, Off 5th-Saks Fifth Avenue Outlet, Corning Revere, Etienne Aigner, Charlotte Russe and Toyco—plus eateries and entertainment venues, such as the Muvico Egyptian 24 Theaters with valet parking and child care. Specialty leasing contact: Ned Katzman, 703.526.5075.
At The Mall in Columbia, a footbridge leads across the street from The Rouse Company’s corporate headquarters (Little Patuxent Pkwy.). Built in 1971, the enclosed 1,262,000-s/f mall has been updated several times. A new 80,000-s/f wing opened in 1999 with Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor, and a parking deck. Other anchors include Hecht’s, JCPenney and Sears; on tap for Spring 2001 is L.L. Bean. Temporary tenants include Karma Creations (wrought iron, ceramic and glass home décor accents), Bungee Ball, Del Sol (color-change T-shirts and jewelry), Geppeddo, and Carol’s Creations, among others. The mall’s 32 RMUs maintain a high level of occupancy; specialty retailers are encouraged to inquire into leasing possibilities. Specialty leasing contact: Cynthia Garber, 410.730.3300.
Francis Scott Key Mall is about 45 miles from Baltimore and two miles from historic downtown Frederick (I-270 and Rte. 85). Anchors include Hecht’s, JCPenney and Hoyts Cinemas, and a Holiday Inn Express is adjacent. At 729,000 s/f, the mall has kiosks, carts and temporary in-line stores. Specialty leasing contact: Sharon Hagerich, 814.536.9519.
The Center at Salisbury, across the Chesapeake Bay (N Salisbury Blvd.), is anchored by Hecht’s, JCPenney, Sears, Ward’s and Boscov’s. Built in 1990, the 883,634-s/f enclosed mall is en route to the tourist destination Ocean City, drawing residents and visitors alike. (A bypass from western Baltimore/Washington, scheduled for completion in 2002, will run in front of it.) Among the specialty retailers is The New Product Store, which test-markets products for Oil of Olay, Procter and Gamble, Del Monte and others by offering samples and conducting opinion polls in the mall. The Center’s receptive specialty leasing program seeks merchants that complement existing stores with a unique style and presentation, and all concepts are considered. Specialty leasing contact: Jenee Cook Gray, 410.548.1694.
The 1.2 million-s/f Lakeforest Mall in upscale Gaithersburg (Montgomery Village Ave. and Russell Ave.) has Lord & Taylor, Hecht’s, JCPenney and Sears as anchors. Its first-ever food court opened recently, offering fare from Pastelandia (Brazilian cuisine), Panda Express, Charlie’s Bakery, and Frankenstein Hot Dogs in 22,000 s/f, with access from outside as well as in. The mall’s 15 carts represent a typical specialty retail mix that ranges from jewelry to children’s formal wear. The mall frequently seeks fresh, new concepts. Specialty leasing contact: Marian Julier, 301.670.0599.
Prince Georges Plaza in Hyattsville (East West Hwy. and Belcrest Rd.) grew to 900,000 s/f in 1991 with the addition of a food court. Anchoring this enclosed mall are Kids ‘R Us, Hecht’s and JCPenney. The center provides space for 10 carts and 10 kiosks with an eclectic merchandise mix, including African Stargina (African art, artifacts, jewelry) and Leather Man (leather coats and accessories). The strong specialty leasing program seeks ways to enhance and add to existing offerings. Specialty leasing contact: Margo Ross, 301.559.8383.
Montgomery Mall in upscale Bethesda (on the Beltway corridor near Washington) serves as a super-regional center. Anchors are Hecht’s, Nordstrom, Sears and JCPenney. At 1.2 million s/f, the mall houses 180 stores, a food court, and a number of temporary tenants on two enclosed levels. Specialty leasing contact: Kendyle Baldwin, 410.266.3945.
Beltway Plaza Shopping Center (Greenbelt Rd.), near the University of Maryland and its 40,000 students plus faculty and staff, attracts out-of-towners as well as locals. Built in 1962, the one million-s/f, two-level enclosed center has undergone several renovations, the latest in 2000. In October, an attached Target opened, adding 130,000 s/f. In addition to 100 merchants, the mall has a 14-screen AMC Theater, and a kiosk and cart program (of six or seven, including shoe repair). Specialty leasing contact: Kap Kapastin, 301.422.3300.
Baltimore is about to enjoy a second renaissance. The $1 billion in new development through 2002 is good news for the city’s residents, its 13 million visitors, and the many retailers doing business here. And it’s good news for specialty retailers… it means there’s room and opportunity to launch or expand—on location in Baltimore.
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