The housing bubble helped the city spur redevelopment of its central core. With the downturn, officials wonder if Baltimore can hold onto the progress it made towards revitalization.
"As home sales dry up, tax revenues fade, foreclosures have surged, hiring is down and a new caution is inhibiting activity.
"I don't see a recession mentality," said Atwood Collins III, executive vice president of the M&T Bank Corporation, who complains that the national media are amplifying the bad news. "But you would have to be deaf, dumb and blind not to be a little infected by what is being said."
How broadly the infection will spread is still not clear. By no means is every metropolitan area around the country experiencing similar problems. Even in Baltimore there are strengths. The port is thriving from trade. Financial services companies are strong, and the federal government is channeling money into medical research and to companies that locate here, having won contracts with the National Security Agency, headquartered nearby.
But the fallout from the housing downturn is already showing up as a setback in this struggling city's effort to reinvent itself as a robust commercial center, one in which a spruced up and rebuilt downtown has attracted new residents, particularly young people, as well as more office workers."