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Old April 8th, 2007, 06:26 PM   #2681
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BACVA plans to act fast to win convention business
Baltimore Business Journal - April 6, 2007by Julekha DashStaff


Baltimore has lost two meetings to a planned conference center in Prince George's County and could lose more meetings to its neighbor to the south and to Philadelphia, which is expanding its convention center.

So the head of the city's main tourism agency said he plans to spend $20,000 annually on a company that would help the agency identify convention opportunities and team up with convention bureaus in other cities to compete better with national hotel sales staffs vying for the same business.
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Old April 8th, 2007, 06:27 PM   #2682
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Low ridership forces double-decker bus firm to pull out of Baltimore
Baltimore Business Journal - April 6, 2007by Julekha DashStaff


The double-decker bus service that rode into Baltimore two years ago will not be returning this month for a third season because it had too few riders and lacked enough visibility in the city, a company executive said.

The Big Bus Co., which traversed a 13-mile loop around Baltimore, had temporarily solved the perennial problem of transporting visitors to attractions located beyond the Inner Harbor. Its failure means that shuttling guests to out-of-the way attractions will once again be a challenge in the local tourism industry.

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Old April 9th, 2007, 12:02 AM   #2683
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What is the status of the four seasons?
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Old April 9th, 2007, 02:03 AM   #2684
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MountVEE View Post
Fogo De Chao should be opening at Lockwood in the next few months.

check it....

http://www.fogodechao.com/locations.htm

As you might be able to tell, they like to be really original with their restaurant designs. Should be interesting to see what they come up with.
Thanks!
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Old April 9th, 2007, 04:11 AM   #2685
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From time to time I have passed by the large building being constructed on Rt 1 near 95/695. I was over there tonight and saw the sign that says it is a Walmart Supercenter. Since this is fairly close to the Port Covington Walmart on the waterfront, do you think this new store is connected to a deal and developers to close the Port Covington store and redevelop the property as residential? office? mixed?
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Old April 9th, 2007, 04:26 AM   #2686
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i hope so. i really feel that piece of land (port covington) is being underutilized. i say tear down both the walmart and sam's club and build residential stuff there. it would really help jumpstart the effort in making middle branch an area worth developing.
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Old April 9th, 2007, 05:07 AM   #2687
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i hope so. i really feel that piece of land (port covington) is being underutilized. i say tear down both the walmart and sam's club and build residential stuff there. it would really help jumpstart the effort in making middle branch an area worth developing.
why not put a new arena and mixed-use development on port covington? east access from 95, close to westport redevelopment, and high-visibility. an arena/entertainmnet venue would work nicely with a new waterfront that could happen there. You could easily support some height out there with the right kind of uses, transforming Westport into the third spoke of an activity traingle that would be created by Westport, th CBD and IHE.
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Old April 9th, 2007, 05:36 AM   #2688
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Foreclosures on the rise in suburbs of Baltimore
Mortgage deals from housing boom blow up in owners' faces

By Jamie Smith Hopkins
sun reporter
Originally published April 8, 2007
An Edgewater house with a new siding-and-stone facade. A five-bedroom in Hanover, two-car garage attached. A West Friendship mansion on nearly an acre of gently sloping land. A million-dollar Colonial in a Columbia development so new, the sales office is still open.

Suburban. Symbols of affluence. And - as recently as the past few weeks - all in foreclosure.

The new wave of mortgage defaults hitting the region, part of a nationwide spike, is not primarily a city problem. Foreclosure filings rose four times faster last year in Baltimore's suburbs than in Baltimore - up 15 percent versus less than 4 percent in the city, court records show. To the south in Montgomery, one of the nation's wealthiest counties, filings were up more than 30 percent.....
I can't help wondering how so many people didn't see this coming. Not too long ago, banks wouldn't lend people more than what would require a fixed payment of more than 40% of their income but in recent years, lower tier lenders have been going over 50% AND doing it as an ARM, which isn't really adjustable, only increasable. In addition, you do have to wonder what made people think that spending most of their income on a mortgage payment that would (not could) go up faster than their pay check would not lead to disaster. There really is something to be said for spending within one's means. In spite of the current real estate crash, the web is still full of adds with dancing little people who just got a bankrupting mortgage.
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Old April 9th, 2007, 05:42 AM   #2689
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Low ridership forces double-decker bus firm to pull out of Baltimore
Baltimore Business Journal - April 6, 2007by Julekha DashStaff


The double-decker bus service that rode into Baltimore two years ago will not be returning this month for a third season because it had too few riders and lacked enough visibility in the city, a company executive said.

The Big Bus Co., which traversed a 13-mile loop around Baltimore, had temporarily solved the perennial problem of transporting visitors to attractions located beyond the Inner Harbor. Its failure means that shuttling guests to out-of-the way attractions will once again be a challenge in the local tourism industry.

It does seem as though it should be possible to have a bus that runs specifically to the BMA and the Zoo. Most tourists never get beyond the waterfront and most would never find the Zoo. This seems to be another argument for a Disney "park-hopper" approach to attractions that gives people a prepackaged group payment. Disney makes it work with all those buses that run around the "campus" so people don't have to drive and don't have to know where they are going. Some enterprising group ought to be able to make that happen here.
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Old April 9th, 2007, 06:48 AM   #2690
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I've been going through old publisher's titles, and I notice that the Penguin imprints I've seen before 1970 all refer to Baltimore as the publishing location. Was Baltimore at one time headquarters for Penguin books, or at least a regional office?
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Old April 9th, 2007, 01:57 PM   #2691
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StevenW - you're falling down on the job! You missed this in Saturday's paper.

Sun properties come into play
Tribune's debt load could thwart acquisition

By Jamie Smith-Hopkins
Sun Reporter
Originally published April 7, 2007
At about the same time Tribune Co. plans to take on billions of dollars in debt to go private under a transaction announced earlier this week, the company will have a chance to buy eight former Times Mirror Co. properties - including The Baltimore Sun Co.'s downtown headquarters and nearly 60-acre printing facility - for the below-market price of $175 million. That price will be available only in January 2008, at a time when some analysts said the company's heavy debt load from the deal with Chicago real estate mogul Samuel Zell to go private may make it difficult to finance the purchase.

If the borrowing required to take the company private does preclude the purchase, Tribune would have to pay at least $20 million more if it seeks to buy the 3-million- square-foot real estate portfolio at a later date.

The $175 million figure comes from a September 2006 deal intended to disentangle the company from the Chandler Trusts, its largest stakeholders, with whom it had been sparring publicly about Tribune management's policies. Tribune pays the partnerships more than $24 million a year to lease the properties. The total portfolio has been appraised at $325 million, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times.

But Tribune's projected debt load of $11 billion from going private gives analysts pause. "Financially, this would become more problematic for Tribune because of the debt they already have," said David Novosel, an analyst at Gimme Credit Publications Inc. in Chicago. "If they're looking for financing for even more debt, they could meet some resistance there."

The partnerships are an artifact of Tribune's 2000 purchase of Times Mirror, the Chandler-controlled company that published The Sun, Newsday, Los Angeles Times, Hartford Courant and other newspapers. One of the partnerships owns The Sun' s headquarters, in the 500 and 600 blocks of N. Calvert St.; the parking garage and office space immediately north; and the Sun Park printing facility on Cromwell Street in Port Covington, a South Baltimore industrial area cradled between the Patapsco River, Hanover Street and Interstate 95.

Together, the properties are assessed at roughly $66 million. According to state property assessment records, the headquarters building is 450,000 square feet - as large as 2 1/2 Wal-Mart supercenters - and the Port Covington property spans nearly 60 acres.

Local real estate experts said the Baltimore sites would likely draw significant interest from investors looking for cash flow - the buildings could be sold and then leased back to The Sun - or redevelopment opportunities if Tribune chose to acquire and then resell them. The Calvert Street and South Baltimore properties are near projects to convert old office and industrial space into residential and mixed-use complexes.

Discussions about real estate sales are familiar territory for the newspaper. Sun officials talked about moving more than the printing operations to Sun Park, which opened in 1992. "The original concept was to have the entire operation down at Sun Park," said Mary E. Junck, who was publisher of The Sun from 1993 to 1997 and is now president and chief executive of the Lee Enterprises Inc. newspaper chain. "The lobby is much grander than you typically have in a production building."

During her tenure, a real estate affiliate of the Johns Hopkins Institutions negotiated to buy the two Calvert Street properties for $10 million and lease them back to the newspaper. The affiliate planned to renovate the aging buildings and put in ground-level retail. But the sale was delayed by complications and was finally scrapped in 1997 - a year later - after Times Mirror and the Chandlers formed their partnership.

Joseph M. Cronyn, a partner with real estate consultants Lipman Frizzell & Mitchell, said both the downtown and Port Covington parcels have redevelopment potential and could be converted into a mix of retail, residences and offices, with or without The Sun as a tenant. (The newspaper leases the offices connected to the garage to an architectural firm and does not use all its headquarters space.)

Both sections of the city have been sought after by developers. That's particularly true of downtown, where they're turning old offices into condos and apartments, Cronyn said. "Developing as large a tract as that in that location would sort of fill in that ... northeast quadrant of downtown there, and I think that could really work extremely well," he said.

If Tribune does not buy the Chandler Trust properties in January 2008, it could either purchase the portfolio for a minimum of $195 million during a subsequent window or extend its lease for 12 years at current rents. There also is an option for an additional 12-year extension, though rents could be substantially higher.

In the short term, analyst Novosel said, the company might be better off continuing to lease the space "to minimize the cash outflows." But he said that because the price has a clear sunset, that approach might not be in the company's long-term interest.

Newspaper analyst Mike Simonton, of Fitch Ratings Inc. in Chicago, said the company will have to reckon with tough decisions about how to spend its "limited discretionary cash flow," especially given a stated imperative to invest in digital resources. "So they'll have to determine whether or not the real estate is the best use of their capital at that time." Still, Simonton said, the below-market purchase of real property might be a safer use of funds than reinvestment in Tribune's core publishing business.

Last edited by 30 Floors Up; April 9th, 2007 at 02:17 PM.
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Old April 9th, 2007, 02:14 PM   #2692
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Warning! Warning!

Our city mothers have decided that south bound Light Street @ Pratt Street is the perfect spot to place photo enforcement cameras! They are now installed (Don't know if they are working yet), so slam on the brakes if the light turns yellow or risk getting a ticket!

BTW, there are also cameras at Conway Street and I-395 by Camden Yards. I'm sure all our out of town visitors will think well of their Baltimore experience when they get a ticket two weeks later in the mail. Is this part of Baltimore's tourist enhancement program?

Which brings me to this. I can't count the number of MTA buses that I have seen blatantly running red lights. I hope to hell they get photographed, fined, and the habitual red light running drivers get FIRED! But knowing government, they are probably exempt.

I stopped by Urban Outfitter and was totally disappointed. The house wares department is tiny and has racks of party dresses in it to fill up space. The UO's in Georgetown, Philadelphia, and Greenwich Village all have a much larger home department. Baltimore's store is mostly clothes.

Turner Construction is moving from Columbia to Downtown and has signed a lease at 250 West Pratt Street.

They got it wrong again! The BBJ said that Starbucks is moving to 300 North Charles (at Saratoga) and that a 1st Mariner Bank is located there now. Truth is, the coffee shop is moving NEXT to the bank. The bank is brand spanking new. The space Starbucks will occupy has an entrance on Charles Street and an entrance on Saratoga and is now vacant.

Last edited by 30 Floors Up; April 9th, 2007 at 03:12 PM.
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Old April 9th, 2007, 02:14 PM   #2693
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scando View Post
It does seem as though it should be possible to have a bus that runs specifically to the BMA and the Zoo. Most tourists never get beyond the waterfront and most would never find the Zoo. This seems to be another argument for a Disney "park-hopper" approach to attractions that gives people a prepackaged group payment. Disney makes it work with all those buses that run around the "campus" so people don't have to drive and don't have to know where they are going. Some enterprising group ought to be able to make that happen here.
Worked on this as an employee of the late and largely unlamented City Life Museums just across President Street from the harbor. Bottom line, then as now: most visitors are here for a day; the harbor is sufficient for them. Most are driving; if they want to go to the Zoo or the BMA, they can and do. If they're going to take a tour, it'd most likely be the Ducks. A lot of enterprising folks have tried and failed in the loop business. Doesn't mean it can't be done, just that it's tough.
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Old April 9th, 2007, 02:24 PM   #2694
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I've been going through old publisher's titles, and I notice that the Penguin imprints I've seen before 1970 all refer to Baltimore as the publishing location. Was Baltimore at one time headquarters for Penguin books, or at least a regional office?
My Ex was a book rep. for Harper Collins. Baltimore was Penguin's HQ.
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Old April 9th, 2007, 02:35 PM   #2695
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My Ex was a book rep. for Harper Collins. Baltimore was Penguin's HQ.
So where in town was the company located? What prompted the move out?
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Old April 9th, 2007, 02:49 PM   #2696
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Penguin was aquired during a time when all the publishing houses were merging. There are only 2 or 3 major publishing houses now. All the other "names" are now owned by them. If I remember correctly, they were in Mt. Vernon.

Saw the below in the Indianapolis paper, but I see that it came from the Nashville paper. It was probably was syndicated throughout the country.

The best of Baltimore
You don't need a car to explore this harbor city's attractions

(Good thing too - you'd probably get a ticket.)

By Beth Rubin
The (Nashville) Tennessean

Imagine visiting world-class museums, shops and restaurants within walking distance of each other, renting a paddle boat or joining a cruise and enjoying free entertainment -- all on a scenic natural harbor steeped in history. No, this isn't another theme park, it's Baltimore's Inner Harbor and nearby neighborhoods.

The Fells Point neighborhood is far from boring. Here you'll find quirky stores, tasty bites in the historic Broadway market and Bertha's famous mussels.


Photos provided by Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Center

IF YOU GO
Getting there: Baltimore is about 90 minutes from Indianapolis on a nonstop flight; Southwest offers several daily.

Staying there: For lodging and general information, contact the Baltimore Area Convention & Visitor Association at (410) 659-7300 or www.baltimore.org.

Getting around: The Water Taxi operates year-round, but hours vary by season. All-day tickets are $8 for adults, $4 for ages 10 and under. For more information: (800) 658-8947;
www.thewatertaxi.com.

With the help of a quick nonstop flight, it's easy to have breakfast in Indianapolis and arrive in Baltimore to dig into Maryland's famous crab cakes at lunch. And you won't even need a rental car: Park your bags at an Inner Harbor hotel and spend a long weekend exploring the sights, shops and eateries in and around the natural harbor. What's not accessible on foot is easy to reach. Just take to the water. Baltimore Water Taxi ferries visitors from the harbor area to 16 stops. Pay once and get on and off as many times as you wish.

Inner Harbor
The Inner Harbor offers an almost dizzying number of attractions and dining spots. Harborplace, filled with food stands, restaurants and shops, sits on the water. Across the street is The Gallery, an upscale multilevel mall.

Want something more historic? Try boarding the USS Constellation, the oldest Civil War-era vessel still floating. It's open to visitors. For more floating fun, try the Baltimore Maritime Museum, which grants access to other vessels, including the Lightship Chesapeake and submarine USS Torsk.

Next, get a look at all the creatures below sea level at the >> recently expanded National Aquarium. Bottlenose dolphins demonstrate their intelligence in half-hour shows in the Marine Mammal Pavilion. With kids in tow, this is a must.

Kids also enjoy the Maryland Science Center, with its crowd-pleasing interactive and hands-on exhibits pertaining to the natural world, plus an IMAX theater and the Davis Planetarium.

Fells Point
The setting for several Hollywood movies, Fells Point is the city's oldest and -- many consider -- most colorful neighborhood. And it's a quick ferry ride from the Inner Harbor. Mosey down Broadway, Thames and Fleet streets. Far from the homogeny of a mall, Mystery Loves Company is a great browsing bookstore.

Sip a cold one on the patio of a waterfront eatery, or at the historic Broadway market, pick up light fare and munch while you explore. There's plenty of pub food, seafood options and ethnic fare, depending on your mood. And if those "Eat Bertha's Mussels" bumper stickers have piqued your interest, try them for yourself.

Little Italy
Another must-eat-in neighborhood, Little Italy is just outside of the Inner Harbor. It's where Nancy D'Alesandro spent her youth at 245 Albemarle St. But now Nancy Pelosi wields a gavel as the first woman Speaker of the House. Longtime residents still gather on their front stoops to gossip.

At the Flag House & Star-Spangled Banner Museum see a glass replica of the 30- by 40-foot stars and stripes pieced by Mary Pickersgill. The actual flag inspired Francis Scott Key to pen the poem that became our national anthem.

Federal Hill
Enjoy a stunning view of the Inner Harbor from Federal Hill Park. Here celebrants marked Maryland's ratification of the Constitution and merchants awaited vessels bearing their goods. Today Federal Hill's galleries, antiques shops and trendy restaurants draw a diverse crowd.

The once open-air Cross Street Market is still going strong after 161 years. The red brick building attracts gastronomes and chefs to its stands for the freshest of fresh produce, meat and fish.

Fort McHenry
This star-shaped fort is best known for defending the harbor during the War of 1812. It's well worth a visit for its exhibits, visitor center film and daily flag-related activities. The water taxi stops here in spring and summer; last departure from the fort is 5 p.m.

Last edited by 30 Floors Up; April 9th, 2007 at 03:13 PM.
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Old April 9th, 2007, 04:35 PM   #2697
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Is it too much to ask???

All I want is a nice modern movie theater downtown. Got dinner at DuClaw on Friday and wanted to see "I think I love my wife." Had to drive to Columbia.

Ugh.

Seriously put it anywhere. Just as long as folks can enjoy dinner and a movie in town. The bowling alley's can't get here fast enough.
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Old April 9th, 2007, 04:51 PM   #2698
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From time to time I have passed by the large building being constructed on Rt 1 near 95/695. I was over there tonight and saw the sign that says it is a Walmart Supercenter. Since this is fairly close to the Port Covington Walmart on the waterfront, do you think this new store is connected to a deal and developers to close the Port Covington store and redevelop the property as residential? office? mixed?
Has a Walmart ever closed? Isn't it Walmart's strategy to fill in all the empty spaces between their stores with more stores. As long as there are independent businesses open and smaller chains, there is business for Walmart to capture. Most of Walmart's stores have maximized their profits, so the only way they have to increase profits is to add more stores. There are already independent businesses near that new Walmart that are making plans to close because of the impending opening. Think about that the next time you shop at Walmart or Sam's Club.
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Old April 9th, 2007, 05:17 PM   #2699
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 30 Floors Up View Post
Warning! Warning!

Our city mothers have decided that south bound Light Street @ Pratt Street is the perfect spot to place photo enforcement cameras! They are now installed (Don't know if they are working yet), so slam on the brakes if the light turns yellow or risk getting a ticket!

I'm so glad you mentioned this. I cross this corner quite often and most of the time, I speed through the light to beat traffic. That opening day traffic is going to be a mess by the way.
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Old April 9th, 2007, 06:14 PM   #2700
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. . . but not by KSI. This gives them a small headstart, though.

From abc2news.com:

Apr 4, 2007 1:25 PM
Semi Crashes Into Southeast Baltimore House
Posted By: Bryan Sinagra

A semi slams into a Baltimore home leaving the homeowner shaken. Around 4 o’clock Tuesday, the driver of a 53 foot tractor trailer was traveling westbound on O’Donnell Street in Southeast Baltimore when he veered off the road. His truck collided into a brick row house on Newkirk Avenue tearing down a utility pole and power lines. The driver was trapped inside. Emergency crews rescued the man who they say suffered only minor injuries. Fortunately, the first floor apartment is vacant. John Wagner was in the other side of the building at the time of the crash. He described hearing a crashing sound like thunder and then he says the house started shaking. Wagner says he is moving out of the house. The homeowner was actually bought out because of nearby development and the house was scheduled to be torn down. The driver is expected to make a full recovery. No word from his company, ATS Inc. out of Minnesota.

---
This was the end unit of a row of 4, that is part of the new KSI development. Guess they won't have to tear this particular one down.



I'm glad the driver is OK. As my husband says, this is a good argument for not owning a house on a main road.

---

I just watched a video on the WJZ TV web site; the man living in the rowhouse said that he was supposed to move out by May anyway . . . so that gives us a little better idea of when the KSI demo is scheduled to begin.

Also, we drove by the rowhouses this morning . . . only two remain. The rightmost two have already been demolished. I would not be surprised if they are all gone by next week. I don't know how much that sort of crash destabilizes the other houses in the row.
That's why O'Donnell has been funky the last couple of days. I figured it was road construction of some kind, since they are doing some kind of work on Eastern Ave.

I wound up down there walking my dog a couple weeks back and was freaked out by how close the house was to the road. I'm suprised they lasted that long--it was maybe two feet of sidewalk at the most.
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