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Rebranding Baltimore’s Inner Harbor

Posted at 7:08 PM, Jun 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-07 09:13:33-04

BALTIMORE — The mayor went shopping outside Thursday on Pratt Street, a pop-up shop in front of what is one of the lone empty lots along the busy corridor.

Sponsored by M&T Bank, six local vendors will cycle through the space in the summer.

It is the kind of retail that Mayor Jack Young said he would like to see down at the harbor.

“We need to look at doing some permanent ones in spaces just like this,” said Mayor Jack Young, “The harbor over there is a different thing. We don’t own it…We own the ground and whatever the owners want to do, I would like to be in that conversation.”

Young wants to see more local businesses along the water with entertainment and attractions.

It just might be time for a rebranding of Baltimore, Young says, and Harborplace going into receivership might be that opportunity.

“Everything needs to be rebranded,” Young said, “Ya know hotels, they be brand new for about two or three years and then they do a re-make. That's what we want to see in Baltimore with our harbor.”

A reboot of the Inner Harbor isn’t exactly limited to just Harborplace either; many of the areas’ anchor attractions and institutions are going through a rebrand themselves.

The iconic World Trade Center downtown announced it will re-brand as 401 E. Pratt Street.

From work, to play, others are following suit too.

After five months, the 20-year-old Port Discovery is reopening next week after its face-lift with new exhibits, lessons, and fresh ideas.

“We knew that we needed to build some new exhibits, to make some renovations for our visitors and make sure that they have opportunities to play and learn for the 20 years beyond,” said Port Discovery Director of Marketing Abbi Ludwig.

It is the exact kind of hands-on lesson city leaders hope any new owners of Harborplace will learn and implement.

“You have to keep up with the times,” said Downtown Partnership President Kirby Fowler, “Some properties are ours, some are not, so I think people will come here; there is more to offer at the Harborplace.”

The city is re-imagining the cornerstone of the Inner Harbor, once again setting the tone for how Baltimore takes advantage of its waterfront.