Swapping A Sports Arena For More Vibrant Streetscape

<p>Architects in Baltimore are arguing that the city should build its new arena near its other sports facilities, freeing up the old location for redevelopment that can help revitalize its downtown.</p>
May 14, 2008, 12pm PDT | Christian Madera | @cpmadera
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"Did Baltimore make a mistake by opening what is now called the 1st Mariner Arena on a prime downtown parcel 46 years ago?

That's the conclusion of a group of local architects who recommend Baltimore find another site for the new arena city officials want to build, rather than construct it on the same spot as the current one at 201 W. Baltimore St.

The architects say the present arena, originally known as the Baltimore Civic Center, is a "dead zone" for much of the day and fails to add much vitality to the central business district. They say a better location for a new arena would be south of Oriole Park at Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium, where it could be part of a larger sports and entertainment district.

The architects also say that moving the arena would free up the present site for new development that could support the city's revitalization efforts on the west side of downtown, including housing, stores and offices. A more "finely grained" and "multi-tiered" mixture of uses, they contend, would do more to rejuvenate the surrounding area than an arena because it would add people and activity to the area around the clock.

"If Baltimore is to build a new arena, it shouldn't be on the current site," said Klaus Philipsen, one of the architects making recommendations about a future arena."

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Published on Tuesday, May 13, 2008 in The Baltimore Sun
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