Barry Rascovar’s Sept. 4 column about State Center is very misleading. The stakes are high and clarity on details surrounding this project is very important –– particularly as the lack of transparency from the state grows.
Key parts of his tale about a faulty plan, greedy developers, and changing economic circumstances are just not true.
Improved transit and a revitalized State Center could propel Baltimore in important ways. While there are jobs and job centers available in some communities, it’s hard for many people to reach them. The new Baltimore Link system, while well-intentioned, doesn’t come close to offering the coordinated access that is common to great cities around the world. New and affordable technologies like Bus Rapid Transit offer economical and efficient alternatives to railed vehicles and could build on MARC and existing rail lines to transform our economy. And Gov. Larry Hogan and Mayor Catherine Pugh need to make good on their plans to retain state jobs and create transit-oriented development at State Center.
Gov. Larry Hogan’s hopes that a legal battle with the developer of the beleaguered State Center overhaul could be finished by this fall aren’t realistic, according to the builder’s attorney.
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.