BALTIMORE — Baltimore based MCB Real Estate has come to an agreement with the City to acquire Harborplace in Downtown.
Since 2013, Ashkenazy Acquisition, a firm out of New York, has owned the long struggling property.
In 2019, a judge ordered Harborplace into receivership and later appointed IVL Group to oversee it.
IVL is expected to seek court approval in Baltimore City Circuit Court, which would give MCB full rights to begin new planning and designing.
“Harborplace is Baltimore’s front porch – first and foremost, a destination location for residents of the City and surrounding region,” said P. David Bramble, Managing Partner of MCB. “The level of disinvestment and disrepair that has happened to one of our City’s crown jewels has been heartbreaking for me and so many others."
Harborplace first opened in 1980 as a national landmark, a first of its kind waterfront mall with restaurants and shopping that other cities emulated.
"I remember when it opened it up," said Art Adasse, who reflected on a time when Harborplace was the place to be. "It was new and exciting.”
But, over the past few years that has changed.
“I walked through recently and it was like a ghost town. There wasn’t anything going on," Adasse said.
Issues were made even worse during the pandemic, causing many businesses to pack up and leave.
Last month clothing retailer H&M closed its doors, leaving only Hooters at Harborplace's Light Street Pavilion, although some businesses remain at the Pratt Street Pavilion.
“I think it’s got a lot of potential," Baltimore resident Alex Osborn said. "It’s really nice, beautiful view as we can all see. It’s unfortunate we got some empty spaces around here.”
Mayor Brandon Scott also acknowledged the continuing decline of Harborplace, but called the agreement a new chapter.
“Bringing Baltimore vision, Baltimore community investment, and Baltimore style to transform Harborplace into a landmark destination where residents can go to enjoy the best that we have to offer – thriving small businesses, green spaces, and cultural venues," Scott said.
The exact plans to revitalize Harborplace have yet to be released.
However, Osborn hopes it captures the city’s culture while showcasing Baltimore businesses.
“A lot of locally-owned business to promote in this area so it can give more of that Baltimore feel."