Downtown Baltimore Banking on Bookstore

Construction of a new university bookstore in downtown Baltimore is seen as a critical piece of the downtown's rebirth. City officials are looking at offering tax incentives to ensure the bookstore deals comes through.

"To city officials, this half a block in the 400 block of W. Baltimore St. is a critical piece for revitalization, a bridge between the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus to the west and the Hippodrome Theatre and Starbucks to the east."

"And so the city is pressing the university to put a planned student bookstore, to be managed by Barnes & Noble, at the northeast corner of Baltimore and Paca streets, a move officials hope will inject more energy and visibility to an area undergoing a slow transformation."

"Brodie said the city is looking at offering the university financial incentives, such as low-interest loans, to make the deal more economically viable."

"The new bookstore would have about 10,000 square feet and primarily function as a university store with textbooks but will also include books for the larger community, and likely a cafe section, said Hill. The project is several years from completion.'

"Deputy Mayor Andrew Frank said the university's expansion 'is the strength that makes the west-side transformation possible.'"

"'We view the opportunity for a community bookstore in the heart of a thriving university district as important to the west side today as the Hippodrome and Centerpoint were just a few years back,' Frank said. 'Building a retail Barnes & Noble represents a unique opportunity to accelerate the transformation of the neighborhood that surrounds UMB's campus.'"

Full Story: The next page in downtown plan

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