I agree. It would be a tremendous anchor for the downtown and west side. Arenas, even if you can just put one pro team in there, are amazingly active. Between the pro team playing, potential March Madness and conference tournament games, plus all the concerts and kids events, it can be busy basically every day of the entire year. Our arena is a total embarrassment. Anyone I know that goes there for the first time is appalled by its condition. It gives a terribly negative impression of the city, although of course so does people getting murdered right outside of it in the middle of downtown in broad daylight.I really wish there was a feasible way to rebuild the arena at its current site. I think the location is perfect and it could help spur even more development on that side of downtown.
Though very doubtful, if Baltimore had a third professional team (NBA or NHL, most likely NBA over NHL), that would be huge. Even if we were able to get the Blast to move back, and have a minor league hockey team or D League basketball team it would be a boost. I went to a Caps game a few months ago and every restaurant within a 3 block radius was full of Caps fans and there are a ton of restaurants in Chinatown. That sort of help from a sports team can keep restaurants afloat.
Another benefit of a new arena even without another sports team is the events and tourism that come with it. Hosting NCAA tournament rounds, NCAA Conference tournaments, and even regular season NCAA tournaments draw large crowds from outside the area. Crowds that are staying in hotels, eating at restaurants, and experiencing the city when they may not have come here otherwise.