March Compass - eNews from Baltimore Planning

Compass Logo with Image of York Road Retail in background
The Compass is a monthly eNewsletter of the Baltimore City Department of Planning.

March, 2014

A Message from the Director…

This month's Compass features planning around the revitalization of the York Road corridor, as well as some important milestones for other planning and redevelopment initiatives that are in the works throughout the City of Baltimore. 

Admittedly, sometimes progress may seem slow, but  some of the best revitalization efforts are those that are not only well planned, but strategically implemented.  

Given the national economic context in which we find ourselves, Baltimore has been making great strides. 

We are committed to  planning for neighborhood revitalization, while encouraging private investments that will help Baltimore grow and thrive.

Thomas J. Stosur, Director


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Let your voice be heard:

The Remaking of Baltimore's Historic Lexington Market - A Survey

Market Ventures, Inc., a firm that specializes in the planning and development of urban food markets, was hired to create a regeneration plan for Lexington Market. Market Ventures is leading a team of architects, engineers, and placemaking experts in this effort. 

Photo of Lexington Market

Please visit the Lexington Market website, or the Lexington Market Facebook page,  to complete this 10-minute survey. The deadline for completing the survey is March 16, 2014.

Your input, even if you have not visited Lexington Market in a long time, is critical and invaluable.


Let your voice be heard...

Opportunity Collaborative Survey

The Opportunity Collaborative (“the Collaborative”), funded by a $3.5 million HUD grant, is a consortium charged with developing a Regional Plan for Sustainable Development.

In February 2012, the Collaborative began a three-year process to develop a plan that links our region’s housing, transportation and workforce development investments, with a focus on reducing regional disparities.

Government, philanthropic and private sector partners are working together with community members to develop a practical plan to connect all of our citizens to a prosperous and sustainable future.

In order to improve quality of life and opportunity in our region, the Collaborative wants to know what you think of your community and what you value most when it comes to your neighborhood and overall well-being.

Please take the survey here, to help ensure that the plan reflects input from people throughout the Baltimore area.

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Intersection of Howard and Franklin

Baltimore Wins 2013 Wintergreen Award for Leadership in Green Building

Photo of Evergreen Award Trophy

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Wintergreen awards recognize excellence in high performance, healthy design, building, environmental stewardship and community impact.

The 2013 Leadership Award was presented to the Baltimore City Office of Sustainability and Commission on Sustainability for their broad reaching community impact.

The Baltimore Sustainability Program’s leadership structure goes beyond providing examples for practice and education, by creating a successful structure for implementing sustainable actions. Visit the Office of Sustainability webpage for more information.

Planning for York Road's Ongoing Revitalization

York Road runs through the heart of north central Baltimore City and into Baltimore County, and by many accounts, this commercial corridor is thriving. The last few years have witnessed the establishment of many successful new businesses, the re-opening of the Senator Theater, and a total overhaul of Belvedere Square and Market.  However, development has been uneven, many buildings are underutilized or in a state of disrepair and the corridor lacks a cohesive image as a commercial destination.

Map: York Road Commercial Nodes

Map of York Rd Commercial Nodes

With these opportunities and challenges in mind, staff from the Department of Planning, Baltimore Development Corporation and Loyola University joined with institutional and community partners for the York Road Urban Land Institute (ULI) Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) in June 2013. 

Photo of York Road Retail

This multi-day planning process examined opportunities for improving the York Road corridor from 39th Street in Baltimore City to Towsontown Boulevard in Towson. Over 200 area stakeholders were present for discussions and recommendations, which focused on opportunities for commercial revitalization, transportation and streetscaping improvements, and improved urban design. 

The final document is available on our website here.

Image of Concert at Bellvedere Square

As a result of the ULI TAP, the York Road Commercial Revitalization Planning Team  (including representatives from the Department of Planning) convened to facilitate implementation of the report’s recommendations. 

The group’s first major initiative is an RFP for a consultant to develop an urban design and commercial strategies plan that will build from the ULI recommendations and other past community engagement. 

The end-result will provide a blueprint of action items and create a vision for the commercial corridor for the York Road Commercial Revitalization Planning Team (and eventually for a new York Road redevelopment organization) to share with businesses, communities, the City of Baltimore, and potential investors. 

Photo of York Road Retail

RFP: Urban Design and Commercial Strategies for the York Road Corridor

The York Road Commercial Revitalization Planning Team RFP for an "Urban Design and Commercial Straegies Plan for Baltimore City’s York Road Corridor” is available on the Department of Planning website. Proposals are due March 28, 2014.


RFP: West Side UniverCity Revitalization Projects & Services

Two Request for Proposals (RFP) for West Side redevelopment projects have been issued by the City, along with a Request for Fee Proposals from architecture firms to assist with development concepts, renderings, and historic preservation consulting for future redevelopment of additional City-owned properties in the Bromo Tower Arts & Entertainment District. 

Mayor Visiting Lexington Market

“I am very excited about the actions underway in the UniverCity Partnership project area. Architects, urban planners and food retail experts are currently working with tenants, customers and other stakeholders on a capital improvement program to restore Lexington Market as the region’s magnet for fresh and unique foods,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. 

“An enterprising developer senses that the Everyman Theater and our efforts at Lexington Market have created an opportunity for smaller infill projects, and is preparing 106 through 110 North Eutaw Street for renovation this summer. Bike lanes and a dog park will be completed next fall, just in time to serve the new residents of the 520 Park Avenue project, as well as existing residents of Seton Hill and Mount Vernon.

These are just a few of the forthcoming projects that demonstrate how much progress has been made in the past 3 years. I am pleased with the UniverCity Partnership’s continued focus on developing downtown’s west side as a mixed-use, mixed-income neighborhood," Mayor Rawlings-Blake added.

Image of 520 Park Avenue

The two RFPs, as well as a Request for Fee Proposals, are located on BDC’s website.

For more information on these offerings, please contact Nancy Jordan-Howard, BDC, at 410-837-9305, or

By the Numbers – Progress toward a Growing Baltimore

The number of housing units is a good indicator of progress toward growing the City, by retaining current residents and attracting new residents.  Between 2010 and 2014, the following changes have taken place in the housing market:

Graphic depicting changes in housing units since 2010