Listen to the Baltimore Sun's Dan Rodricks and Caroline Moore, CEO of Ekistics, the Baltimore development firm and leader developer of State Center discuss Maryland’s governor, comptroller and treasurer — the state’s Board of Public Works — vote to cancel the $1.5 billion State Center redevelopment plan on mid-town Baltimore’s west side, a project 10 years in the making.
The residents of the communities in and around State Center have been intimately involved with state officials and the state-selected developer in the redevelopment planning for more than a decade — even longer than the current developer. Therefore, I would have thought that our state and city leadership would engage with these communities on any current or alternative redevelopment plans. But, as of today, that has not been the case.
The current State Center buildings are money pits that cost the state far more in maintenance than modern buildings would. Every year we go without replacing them means millions of taxpayer dollars wasted.
For Maryland to compete and succeed, state leadership must play a critical role in rebuilding and revitalizing its urban core and largest employment center. But Hogan’s love for Baltimore has been nothing more than lip service; since Freddie Gray’s death, his major decisions around transit, housing and economic development all suggest he wants West Baltimore to crumble.
State Center is the economic hub of West Baltimore. It has the most accessible mass transit network in the city and contains the largest concentration of state employees in Maryland.
However, after decades of decline, it stands as a deteriorating 28-acre state office complex that poses one of the biggest problems, as well as one of the greatest opportunities, for economic development in the state.
State Center LLC’s attorneys filed a motion to compel the state to comply with written discovery requests in an ongoing lawsuit between the state and the developer. In a reply filed with the court, the developer’s attorneys argue the state’s refusal to hand over the documents is based on “meritless objections” that are “wasting everyone’s time.”
The Baltimore City Circuit Court will hold a hearing Monday and make a decision on a request by the developer of the State Center redevelopment asking Gov. Larry Hogan's administration to provide information about why it nixed the project.
In reading your June 4th article, "Citizens see a city in crisis," I agree that a comprehensive crime fighting strategy is warranted to curb the violence we are facing in Baltimore City, but it is only one part of the solution. The mayor is also right to seek economic development and jobs opportunities for the citizens of Baltimore. To be successful, we must capitalize on sustainable development opportunities that are focused on more than just the demolition of vacant structures.
If reasoning and rationales don't go anywhere, political pressure is what is left. It was impressive to see Delegates, Senators and council people unite behind a project that had obtained so much consensus and praise for its design, its concept and its ability to create a win-win for the State and surrounding communities.
Dozens of community leaders, lawmakers and city residents — frustrated by the stalled State Center redevelopment — rallied Monday outside City Hall, calling on Gov. Larry Hogan to move forward with the West Baltimore project.
It occurs to me that Hogan has a great opportunity to respond personally, get out of the litigation and perhaps spare the state a costly settlement. Before he took office, the governor ran a successful company that, according to its website, "completed $2 billion in real estate transactions by bringing sellers and buyers together to create win-win scenarios."
Given that, the governor should strive for a win-win with State Center instead of scrapping a decade of hard work — especially when it includes a chance to show how much he loves Baltimore.