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The sad state of Baltimore Harborplace


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Hi All!

      I just found this video on YouTube about the shopping area where all of us used to hang around during Otakon. This makes me really sad. :(  I remember how crowded this place used to be.

 

 

Edited by Daniel Perales
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Changing consumer habits, neglectful ownership and now the economic slowdown really put Harborplace in a tough spot.

It's lost a lot of its personality and got really chainy. Like I'm going to go downtown and go to Ripley's or eat at Bubba Gump. Nah.

Edited by Aresef
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Sal Amadeo makes great content! I just watched some of his Baltimore expedition stuff and being that we've all been Baltimore quite a bit when Otakon was there I do recognize quite a bit of what he was filming there.

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I used to just go home when Otakon was over in the early days. Once it came to Baltimore I started to stay an extra night (until Monday), just to hang around there with some friends or by myself. I would head over there to eat and do some last minute shopping right after the Con's Feedback panel, then I settle in my room for the rest of the night. Then I would head over there again the next morning to get something to eat and meet up with people from the con who were still around before I drive back home to New York.

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The Inner Harbor was already hurting when Otakon first got there. On the very first Baltimore year we went to pool hall with a name that started with Charles (Charles Billiards?) that was on the skywalk near the Hyatt. It was gone the next year, and nothing else was put in place as far as shopping or entertainment. The last year Otakon was in Baltimore they were turning that skywalk level into a parking lot. I would bet the hotels are really hurting too. Taking down the skywalks was not beneficial either, but they did not want to pay to rehab them from what I understand. Over time, Harbor Place, the Light Street Pavilion, and The Gallery, were all  losing food vendors. I still have a ceramic sharpener I picked up from the knife store that was on the lower level (Smokey Mountain Knife Works?). Looks like they moved the U.S.S. Constellation to the other side of the harbor.

Amazon killed a lot of the malls, and the irony is that they want to buy the dead space from Sears and J.C. Penny to set up fulfillment centers. The mall where I grew up used to hold events every year. They would have a British/Irish/Scottish weekend where bagpipe parades would go through, and vendors set up tables of goods (snacks from the area, wool products, Yorkshire Terriers plushies, etc.). There were Antiques shows with tons of tables on the entire bottom floor. If there is such an event now they may have a few tables with sports memorabilia and one or two tables with movie posters and old toys. It is sad because the malls used to be really vibrant places, and THE place to be on the weekends. Especially at the end of year holidays. The younger generations don't know what they missed missed.

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14 hours ago, Clutch said:

The Inner Harbor was already hurting when Otakon first got there. On the very first Baltimore year we went to pool hall with a name that started with Charles (Charles Billiards?) that was on the skywalk near the Hyatt. It was gone the next year, and nothing else was put in place as far as shopping or entertainment. The last year Otakon was in Baltimore they were turning that skywalk level into a parking lot. I would bet the hotels are really hurting too. Taking down the skywalks was not beneficial either, but they did not want to pay to rehab them from what I understand. Over time, Harbor Place, the Light Street Pavilion, and The Gallery, were all  losing food vendors.

I started to notice the slow decline at around 2010. It was getting harder to find other people and shops that I regularly frequent (including the Food Courts) has started to shut down. After that I started to questioned myself is it even worth it to stay an extra night, until exhaustion starts to set. Believe me, I don't want to drive back home felling exhausted.

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In 1987 through the mid 90s, the bustling harbor place pavilions were packed every weekend and busy most weekdays. I even worked there over a summer or two. I say 1987 because that was my first real solo trip down there after high school graduation.
 

Now, when I say packed, I mean every retail and restaurant space and then some was filled — all the shops, plus carts and temporary setups.
 

One major cause of mall death across the board is obscene rent costs and rules that make it nearly impossible for anything but big stores to operate without losing money, in “tourist” areas like Harborplace. but it’s true of most malls and has been for twenty years. Then the market begins to collapse and owners take shortcuts that make the mall less appealing, and as stores disappear the survivors get more pressure....it’s vicious.
 

When I went to Sydney, Australia, that harbor has a very similar feel (and the same architects), but the rents are either stabilized or supplemented to ensure business can turn a profit and stay afloat — because it keeps the tourist area vibrant.

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Harborplace seems indicative of the current economic state of both malls and Baltimore in particular. Sad to see how its declined in the 30 years I've lived in MD. 

 

Send in Manny Khoshbin to fix it up!  :D

Edited by KyoKyo
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