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Old March 3rd, 2007, 06:16 AM   #1541
BalWash
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That right there illustrates the single greatest problem with Baltimore-Washington: competition. The two cities are more woried about beating eachother than beating everyone else in the country. We're wasting money on advertising that could be spent on schools or mass transit. This is so pathetic.
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Old March 3rd, 2007, 07:00 AM   #1542
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Originally Posted by Hugh Jaramillo View Post
March Issue of the Urbanite Magazine

There's a very good well written article regarding the pros and cons of the architecture of 10IH. The guy who wrote the article lived in Baltimore for 3 years and he questions whether the the architecture of the building as proposed fits in conceptually to the Baltimore skyline or is it a height for heights sake hulk of a building that could conceivably be in Dallas or Houston?
It seems that there is always somebody around to complain. We have waited many years for the parking lot to become something. If the building were typically Baltimore, it would have a brick facade and a hat. This one has a distinctly different, "big city" look. A couple weeks ago, I went to Philadelphia to see the King Tut exhibit and was taking in some of the sights. The Liberty Place buildings dominate the skyline there and those buildings are so different from what Phila was before, it would have been easy to say that they were "too different" and "not Philadelphia". My view is that they are really spectacular. They gave the place a different look. Downtown Phila really looks good and a big part of it is those buildings. It's time for us to get something like that.
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Old March 3rd, 2007, 07:06 AM   #1543
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I agree!
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Old March 3rd, 2007, 07:09 AM   #1544
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Originally Posted by BalWash View Post

That right there illustrates the single greatest problem with Baltimore-Washington: competition. The two cities are more woried about beating eachother than beating everyone else in the country. We're wasting money on advertising that could be spent on schools or mass transit. This is so pathetic.
Competition is a part of life. The money that has been spent on advertising, especially the Live Baltimore program (a pretty paltry amount of $ relative to the cost of education or transit) and the free bus tours has been some of the best money this town ever spent. From what I hear, almost every time they do those tours, there are people who come, checkbook in hand, who find something they like and put down money on a house, almost on impulse. Those are affluent, tax-paying, employed new citizens paying good prices for a house in Baltimore. They also, frequently don't even bargain very much and are willing to pay prices that people here would cringe it because they can find something better and cheaper than in DC. It's the nature of the market.
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Old March 3rd, 2007, 07:21 AM   #1545
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I agree with Scando on this one. Your Liberty Place example is right on the money. Instead of molding 10IH to "fit in" with the rest of our buildings (this is not a particularly good thing IMO), why not build something unique and different - raise the architecture/design bar if you will - and make future scrapers adapt and try to top each other? I understand the idea of keeping things in scale and borrowing design concepts from neighboring buildings, but let's start a new trend where future designs are trying to play catch up with 10IH.
While I'm in no way comparing the renderings we've seen of 10IH with the Sears Tower or even the Hancock building (or Bmore with Chicago), neither one of those projects were thought highly of when proposed. They were thought to be out of proportion with the surrounding areas and the designs were even questioned. Now look at them - not only are they iconic buildings in a city of many icons, but they forced the hand of subsequent buildings and spurred development.
I'm sure there are many other examples of buildings that weren't well received at first (WTC just popped in my head), but in time they came to not only define the cities in which they were built but helped lure visitors, increase development, raise civic pride and so on.
Sorry I'm ranting. Let's fo O's.
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Old March 3rd, 2007, 07:22 AM   #1546
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Originally Posted by getontrac View Post
Rouse was one of those guys who had a lot of good intents and efforts, but probably did more wrong things than right, urbanistically (is that a word?). In part, it was a byproduct of the era.

Nate
My observation about Rouse is that, in spite of his intent to make new cities, what he mainly built was shopping malls and suburbs. He was a product of the suburbs and that's what he built. The main feature of his biggest projects, especially Columbia, is not its urban quality but that the suburb he built was planned rather than disorderly. I find the planning of Columbia kinda spooky. I don't understand what's so bad about street signs that are visible, reasonable lighted outdoor advertising and buildings that are not all separated by stretches of grass.
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Old March 3rd, 2007, 08:57 AM   #1547
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My complaint about 10IH was that it wasn't that engaging, period; not that is was "un-Baltimore".

Nate
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Old March 3rd, 2007, 03:27 PM   #1548
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I wonder why the Urbanite printed a review of a building that won't even be constructed? Isn't that an old design? They should have waited 3 weeks until the new design is presented to the city.

Thank god Montgomery and Fairfax counties don't compete with each other and work together for the good of the common region! Ahem.
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Old March 3rd, 2007, 05:01 PM   #1549
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 30 Floors Up View Post
I wonder why the Urbanite printed a review of a building that won't even be constructed? Isn't that an old design? They should have waited 3 weeks until the new design is presented to the city.
That is exactly what I was thinking when reading that article.
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Old March 3rd, 2007, 05:10 PM   #1550
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City seeking to craft artful image
Works would be funded via public building plans

By Sumathi Reddy
Sun reporter
Originally published March 3, 2007
Forget the controversial Male/Female (It?) sculpture looming over Penn Station.

Think of more embraceable creations: The stainless steel tubes jutting into the sky in front of the Maryland Science Center. The buoyant red sculpture gracing Pratt Street in the Inner Harbor. Or how about those concrete arcs fronting the Baltimore Visitor Center, meant to convey the "cyclical nature of human interaction"?




Public art - where profundity and vagueness seemingly co-exist - sprouts in forms vast and varied in pockets across the city.

Now, city officials hope to add to the conspicuous and sometimes not-so-conspicuous structures with a proposal that would require all publicly funded city construction projects to set aside 1 percent of costs for public art, a concept that is widely used around the country and that thrived in Baltimore decades ago.

The proposal, introduced by Mayor Sheila Dixon's administration this week, expands on the current law, which city officials say dates to 1964 and was generously used by William Donald Schaefer when he was mayor.

But the existing law is more of an option than a mandate, said William Gilmore, executive director of the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts. The new proposal would funnel 1 percent of the cost of any parking garage, bridge or street into a fund, which could be used flexibly - for new public art projects or the maintenance of existing ones, he said.

City officials expect little opposition to the proposal, but some say they would like to strengthen it by including private developers who receive public subsidies, and by ensuring that schools - whose construction is largely funded by the state - are included.

"No one's criticized the idea yet," said Gilmore. "I think that for generations public art has been an integral part of our society."

Christopher B. Summers, president of the Maryland Public Policy Institute, questioned the use of taxpayer money for new spending.

"Really, what this amounts to is new funding and new spending," said Summers. "At this point in time, is this really a pressing priority? I'd have to say no.

"I'd venture to say that the Baltimore taxpayer would agree. They need to be aware that this is a new spending item."

Across the country, there are at least 287 public government programs for public art, according to a 2003 study conducted by Americans for the Arts, a D.C.-based nonprofit organization.

Beginning with Philadelphia's in 1959, programs have surfaced in cities, counties and states, said Liesel Fenner, public arts manager of the organization. Fenner did not know how many of the programs were mandatory, as opposed to optional ones like the program now in place in Baltimore.

While dedicating 1 percent to public art works is the norm, some areas, such as Santa Monica in California and Broward County in Florida, require 2 percent, said Fenner. Some include private developers. But such ordinances have led to sticky situations.

In Philadelphia, for example, a developer receiving an array of public subsidies in 2001 raised a stink about including public art in his 16-story apartment building. He eventually dropped his opposition.

"It's certainly challenging," said Fenner, about including private developers in the requirement. "But any city that thinks about strong design within the entire city, I think, is helping create a better place and a better community."

The Baltimore proposal requires that projects be publicly bid and exceed $100,000 in eligible costs.

A nine-member Public Art Commission would select the artists and artwork, and allocate funds.

If a project is constructed through a combination of federal, state and city funds, the portion coming from the city would be eligible, and the remainder of funds would be evaluated for potential use.

The federal General Services Administration has a public art program. In 2005, the state's General Assembly passed legislation to start an optional program, which has not been funded.

City officials could not say how much money the program would generate for spending on public art - an amount that would obviously vary depending on the amount of construction.

With the case of the $301 million publicly funded Hilton convention center hotel, 1 percent would amount to a whopping $3 million.




Currently, there are two projects under way with money earmarked for public art. The Roland Park Library renovation includes a $26,900 glass wall sculpture, and the construction of a new library in Highlandtown includes a $65,000 illuminating pod sculpture, said Gilmore.

Artists and art advocates hailed the proposal as one that would inject new life into the artist community and city landscape alike.

Mary Ann Mears, a city resident and sculptor, has made various public art pieces across the country, including the Red Buoyant sculpture on Pratt Street in the Inner Harbor. The sculpture was commissioned through the Inner Harbor Sculpture program, not the city's program. "Over the years so many people have talked to me about how that's something they remember from their visit to Baltimore," said Mears.

Mears said her only concern is making sure that the bill will include school construction and renovation projects.

"I think the bill is terrific," she added. "This is an expression of a governmental respect and concern about people at a level that I think is very important."

City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke said she remembers in the 1970s when the city funded myriad public art projects, especially in schools. "One of the things this bill does is to help us maintain the art once it's erected, which is important," she said.

Clarke said she would like to see the bill expanded to include private development that receives city subsidies.

"One percent of a public project devoted to art is money well spent," said Clarke. "It's good for local employment. It's forward-looking because we've learned that a city that attracts and retains artists and college graduates is a city that thrives and one where businesses want to relocate and stay."

The bill remains in the Judiciary and Legislative Investigations Committee.

City Councilman James B. Kraft, who chairs the committee, said he hopes to shepherd the bill through as quickly as possible.

"It's an investment," said Kraft. "When we're building in other areas of the city which are distressed, what this does show is that we have some hope and faith in these communities."

Kraft said he would be willing to explore somehow including private developments with significant public subsidies, noting that the city doesn't do much new construction. "If we're going to make this work, then we clearly do have to develop some sort of a mechanism for private development to participate in this project," said Kraft.

As for concerns that public art projects aren't always well received - see: the privately funded, androgynous sculpture in front of Penn Station - advocates say all projects would be screened by a committee; furthermore, art is meant to sometimes challenge and provoke.

"I would very much not want to see us get timid because of the heat of the controversy that has been generated by the piece in front of the train station," said Gary Vikan, director of the Walters Art Museum. "If we intend to make this a place for living art in a public way, we have to accept and welcome the notion that not everybody is going to be happy and that is actually a good sign and we should celebrate that."

"We need to have lots of people trying in lots of different places and not be afraid that some people will not like something," said Vikan, "or else we'll dumb ourselves down into ignorable mediocrity, and that would be a shame."

[email protected]


Sculptor David Hess' "Inertia Study" at Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School is an example of work funded by an optional city program that sets aside money for art. A Dixon administration proposal would require such set-asides.
(Sun photo by Kenneth K. Lam)
Mar 1, 2007


A piece of sculptor William Neibauer's "Triaxial Link" at the Baltimore Visitor Center.
(Sun photo by Kenneth K. Lam)
Mar 1, 2007


This work by Jeffrey Cook is displayed at Garrett Heights Elementary School in the city. City officials want to ensure that schools would receive funds under a proposal to finance art in public places.
(Sun photo by Kenneth K. Lam)
Mar 1, 2007
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Old March 3rd, 2007, 05:13 PM   #1551
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Superblock on the downtown's west side was once super indeed
Jacques Kelly

Originally published Mar 3, 2007

Jacques Kelly

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

People who never bought a pair of shoelaces along old Lexington Street are now identifying it as a superblock - a chunk of downtown real estate that made news when Peter G. Angelos and David Hillman filed a lawsuit against the Baltimore Development Corp.
This block was indeed super, once, when it seemed as if half the city converged there for everyday needs. The heart of the block was its array of five-and-dimes - Woolworth's, Grant's, McCrory's and Kresge's. The soul of the block was its diverse, unpretentious people. Saturday afternoons were the busiest, like a perceptive sketch by artist Aaron Sopher come to life.

I recall a dreary fall day when a woman holding a brown-paper shopping bag walked into Woolworth's. It held her pet rooster, which she addressed as Henry. She chattered away to the rooster as if it were her husband. No one questioned the lady - or her right to be there. The word went around that she had lost her son in World War II and was never quite the same since.

I did many a double take when a pair dubbed "The Twins" appeared. These brothers were absolutely alike, and they were never seen apart. They were neatly dressed, pleasant and personable. They seemed to migrate through downtown, stopping one place for breakfast and meeting with friends at Hopkins Plaza at lunchtime. They tolerated the small crowd they attracted.

The so-called superblock shoehorned frenetic mercantile activity into those compact five-and-dimes. There were shoe-repair parlors, often in the basement, and pet shops with singing canaries. Many a goldfish rode home on the No. 19 line.

Lexington Street had an unintentionally comic side. There was, for example, the vendor who sold chameleons from a box. His chameleons were chained at the neck to a kind of leash with a safety pin at the other end. The reptiles were supposed to change colors with your outfit. Sometimes the police chased these semi-legal animal sellers away, adding a bit of drama to the afternoon.

It never got any architectural praise, but the Read's at the corner of Howard and Lexington was really quite a stunning Art Moderne structure. Its four-sided lunch counter sat in the middle of the store and did a brisk business, offering inexpensive meals from breakfast through an early supper.

You reached for a bottle of aspirin only 10 feet away from the women from Edmondson Avenue lunching on their grilled cheese sandwiches and obligatory chocolate soda. Read's was one of the few places where your slice of chocolate cake would arrive in the proper Baltimore formula, with chocolate icing and layers of yellow cake. The waitresses wore uniforms with their names affixed to frilly handkerchiefs displayed like lapel pins.

The place also did a thriving business in liquor sales, both miniatures and half-pints, a holdover from the tradition of spirits used as medicine.

In an era when the nearby department stores were racially segregated - their restaurants had a strict whites-only policy - the overall Lexington Street scene was racially diverse. Jim Crow ruled at the lunch counters, restaurants and restrooms until the 1960s. There was no segregation on the sales floors - this in a city where racial barriers were common. There, in this place, white and black Baltimoreans mixed freely.



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Old March 3rd, 2007, 05:45 PM   #1552
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wada, the BBJ came today. Thanks, again.
Newberry has a bi-monthly magazine that comes out.
The next one that does I'll be sure to send you one.
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Old March 3rd, 2007, 06:49 PM   #1553
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Not sure why people are complaining about 10IH. Is it the greatest design I've ever seen? No. But it is a very elegant glass tower, a tall one at that and a tremendous asset for our city. Philly has those beautiful tall glass towers that dominate the middle of their skyline. It would be great to see us go with a similar approach. I would be quite content if the design did not change and we kept the height.
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Old March 3rd, 2007, 07:05 PM   #1554
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdeclue View Post
Not sure why people are complaining about 10IH. Is it the greatest design I've ever seen? No. But it is a very elegant glass tower, a tall one at that and a tremendous asset for our city. Philly has those beautiful tall glass towers that dominate the middle of their skyline. It would be great to see us go with a similar approach. I would be quite content if the design did not change and we kept the height.
I completely agree.
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Old March 3rd, 2007, 10:46 PM   #1555
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FREE--The Baltimore Zoo

The Baltimore Zoo is free today and tomorrow.

Take Metro Subway (Mondawmin Station), if possible. Avoid parking in the Park.

Nate
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Old March 4th, 2007, 01:55 AM   #1556
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Well it didn't take long. The fence is now up around the Four Seasons site. If those condos are near the top of the hotel building, they will likely be the most costliest homes ever constructed in Baltimore. Truly a million dollar view at 450 feet up in the sky. City views on one side, harbor views on the other. I want one damn it!


The Filene's signs are up!




For some reason, one of the Hilton cranes is coming DOWN, but the 1st Hopkins Hospital crane is now up.


It doesnt look like the signs gonna light up does it??? I think that would be pretty weak if it doesnt.. I want more lights!!!
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Old March 4th, 2007, 02:22 AM   #1557
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That right there illustrates the single greatest problem with Baltimore-Washington: competition. The two cities are more woried about beating eachother than beating everyone else in the country. We're wasting money on advertising that could be spent on schools or mass transit. This is so pathetic.
Baltimore and DC are both after the same thing.. a larger tax base. Resources (residents) are limited so Baltimore has to be agressive in drawing in new residents just as DC has to be agressive.

In the world as a whole, all different entities in a market are going to look out for their best interests. Some situations will call for trade or partnership. For instance, when it came time to bid for the 2012 olympics, Baltimore and DC figured to stand a better chance to work together than go head to head.

Unless the two cities sign a treaty stating that they will act as one, sharing in all tax revenue (which Im sure we all believe will never happen) the cities have no other choice but to compete. Would you expect Ford to drop its commercials that tout its fusion superior to the accord and camry and instead happily watch buyers flock to japanese car dealerships???

No you wouldnt, but it is likely that in the search for a greener car, the companies might put their differences aside in a combined search for better technology that will help make the world a better place.

So BalWash, any time you here about competition you cant throw away the FACT that this is a competition based society. And you have to realize that competition is what drives innovation and makes the world better for us all. I wish it were an utopian society and there are many things about capitalism that I dont like but this just isnt possible right now. Also, if its ravens/redskins type Baltimore/DC competition its just all in fun so lighten up, but when we're talking about dollars, its pure economics.
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Old March 4th, 2007, 02:37 AM   #1558
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Anybody heard anything on a new arena? I sent a letter to the Maryland Stadium Authority and got no reply. Last I heard they were doing a survey that was supposed to be public last month.
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Old March 4th, 2007, 05:08 AM   #1559
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Four Seasons and Legg Mason Tower

Hey has anyone contacted Emporis.com to let them know abou the updates to the four season and legg mason towers at 455 Feet/36 stories and 350 feet tall/24 stories and that they are under construction. Actually someone beat me to it it is already on Emporis but does not say underconstruction. It say proposed and and approved.

Last edited by Baltimoreguy; March 4th, 2007 at 05:21 AM.
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Old March 4th, 2007, 05:17 AM   #1560
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Not yet.
Good idea, though.

BTW, went to see the "Blue Man Group" last Thursday evening. It was great! Anyone else ever seen them? Realy interesting show to say the least. I highly recomend seeing them if you ever get the chance.
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