side from the sunglasses, there’s really not all that much of a difference. But while the figure on the left may be more recognizable as an artist (unless you’re unfamiliar with renaissance greats like Albrecht Dürer), the figure on the right represents his contemporary version, the “hipster/artist”, an emerging yet not-so-new subculture that’s infiltrated nearly every major American city, and then some.
Plastic neon shades. American Apparel hoodie. Trust fund check. Janitor keys. Girl jeans. Crusty old Vans. PBR Tallboy. And generally unkempt appearance. Unflattering terms that one writer pegged to the image, but their scene in many ways plays a vital role in the strength of a city’s culture. And Baltimore’s in many ways a prime environment for their crowd, yet many wouldn’t know. But the idea that Baltimore’s been hiding its inner hipster all this time isn’t really accurate. You may have just not noticed.
While it’s no Greenwich Village, Baltimore still boasts enough diversity and artistic soul to foster the creative inklings artists need to get by. Both the Baltimore Museum of Art and the American Visionary Art Museum have been serving up contemporary art for years (the former since 1914 and the latter since 1995). MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art), in addition to churning out young and motivated local artists each year, sponsors artists’ residencies, film series, lectures, readings, and performances, as well as 100 annual exhibitions. And accommodating their crowd are a number of “indie”-themed bars/restaurants, like Club Charles, The Depot and Golden West Cafe.
Point is: Give the “hipster/artist” a place to “live/work” in the city, and they’ll be happy…and we’ll be happy for what they give us in return. And with JBL Real Estate’s recent acquisition of 235 Holliday Street in downtown Baltimore, the options for creatives continue to grow. Boasting three levels with high ceilings, elevator access, and anywhere between 5,000 and 33,000 SF available, there’s not much one couldn’t do with the space. And for the future tenants that find their next calling at the location, finding an audience shouldn’t be a problem, what with its close proximity to both the downtown area and the Inner Harbor, along with ideal signage potential from I-83. Click here for more information.
*Note: The contemporary artist who’s picture is featured is NYC artist Dash Snow, who unfortunately died of a heroin overdose in July of 2009.
was kind of bummed today when I heard that two out of the three “Soul Daddy” Restaurants would be closing. The relatively new enterprise is the brainchild of Jamawn Woods, winner of NBC’s Reality TV program “America’s Next Great Restaurant”.
For a look at the top 3 contenders:
America’s Next Great Restaurant – Ep 109: And the Winner Is… – Video – NBC.com
Soul Daddy is a quick-serve concept based on the premise of healthy soul food. Woods’ prize for winning the reality competition was the financial backing of celebrity chefs and food innovators from the likes of Bobby Flay and Chipotle Founder, Steve Ells. In addition, three locations across the country (Manhattan, LA and Mall of America) would be opened. The group reportedly wanted to give their best effort at cultivating the brand at a single location before trying to grow the model into multiple units.
This reality-based look into the hustle and bustle of restaurant competition shows just how hard the business is. I think I need to get Soul Daddy to consider Charm City with my listing at 100 N Howard Street (Flyer)…his “new home cookin’” would be a home run.
For more information on Soul Daddy, visit www.souldaddyrestaurant.com.
he hottest news in commercial development in Baltimore is a proposed 375,000 SF Multi-anchored retail shopping center along Boston Street in Canton. The property “Canton Crossing” is being developed by BCP Captial Investors LLC, who recently bought the property from Exxon Mobil Corp. The land is approved for two phases of construction. Phase 1 will include 275,000 square feet of retail space including a grocery anchor that is rumored to be the aggressively expanding Harris Teeter, as well as a big box discount retailer, rumored to be Target. Phase 2 could be as much as 100,000 square feet and will be built on land Exxon Mobil is currently environmentally remediating.
BCP Capital Investors LLC is led by Chesapeake Real Estate Group (www.cregllc.com) Principals Neil Tucker and Doug Schmidt, who have been active in the city in recent years with their Harbor East projects the “Bagby Building” on Fleet St. and the “Broom Corn Building” on Aliceanna St. Neil and Doug were recently spotted in Las Vegas at the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) national convention courting and being courted by major National and Regional big box Tenants such as Walmart, Target, Trader Joe’s, and Giant. When asked about the likely rents for small shops, Tucker said he wanted to get “the big pieces in place first.”
This is exciting news for Canton, which is already home to the most stable retail in Baltimore City, including Boston Street’s Safeway-anchored “Can Company”, “the Broom Factory” and the ever popular “Canton Square”. Some critics worry about traffic implications on Boston Street, but most feedback appears to be positive. Bringing more shopping amenities to the city will surely boost tax revenues and provide options to city residents who might typically do their shopping in the surrounding counties.
(Seinfeld intonation intended)
here seems to be a little bit of controversy surrounding Baltimore’s property taxes. While the state of Maryland fares somewhere in the median range for property taxes, Baltimore’s numbers tower high above the rest, both locally and nationally. Even though Washington, D.C. property costs considerably more than Baltimore on average, many in the region are still opting for the nation’s capital over Charm City. As one realtor put it, “You’ll eventually pay off a mortgage, but in Baltimore, you can’t ever get rid of the tax.” Some random public online samplings (whose authors shall remain anonymous):
“Baltimore City is very high taxed. Property taxes are crazy out of control.”
“If you can help it, get out of Maryland. The gov’t is slowly taxing their citizens to the point of being totally broke. This state is a joke, but its where my family is, so I’ve gotta live with it.”
“Did I mention you have to pay a “ground rent” since you don’t technically “own” the plot of land your house sits on?? I’ve lived in 4 other cities, and Baltimore has been the first I’ve ever even come across that has this “fee.”
In a January ’11 article from the Baltimore Sun, economist Steve Walters proposes a move to cut the nearly 2.3 percent rate…in half. Contrasting Baltimore with what he sees as much more successful models like Boston and San Francisco, cities he believes Baltimore could have had every chance to rival had it not fallen into its tax blunders, Walters argues that the only way to get residents back in the city is to dramatically reduce its property taxes. And with a more favorable environment for capital investment, businesses would follow, too. Where some would first urge city politicians to focus on other more obvious problems with Baltimore’s infrastructure, Walters instead finds the issues inextricably linked:
“Neighborhoods become safer when you’ve got more people in them. Schools become better when enrollments are rising and parents are concerned. When you attract new residents to the city, you’ll bring not only their tax receipts, but you’ll bring more eyes on the streets to make the streets safer.”
So how do we get there? How do we enact change? Walters says that like with any market, it’s ultimately up to the people to send a signal to the proper decision-makers until someone offers up a viable solution. And based on Mr. Walters’ belief, it might just pay off for an authority figure to do just that… “The candidate that actually does this is going to change the destiny of the city so dramatically that this person becomes not just a successful mayor but a national figure.”
To see the full article from The Real Estate Wonk, click here.
JBL Real Estate is a full-service commercial real estate firm located in Baltimore, Maryland. We are passionate about real estate, and the principles and partnerships necessary to improve it.
In our blog we hope to share and spread that passion with the world. Because in the end, it’s people working together that creates progress, that turn an idea into a proposal and a proposal into a reality.
So we cast our net into local and non-local seas, confident that whatever comes up will be worth the search. And rest assured, if we come across something worth seeing, you’ll see it first.