In February 2020, the Maryland Stadium Authority’s (MSA) Board of Directors approved a request from the Mayor of the City of Baltimore to develop a concept design for the modernization of the Baltimore Convention Center (BCC) that aligns the program with the fiscal benefits of the modernized facility.
In July 2018, MSA released a market and economic study that proposed an ‘ideal’ program for the proposed BCC renovation/expansion. The study considered both a stand-alone convention center as well as a hybrid facility inclusive of a hotel and/or arena. Among other things, the study proposed expanding the existing exhibit space to include 400,000 contiguous square feet as part of the ‘ideal’ program.
In fall 2018, MSA proceeded with conducting due diligence and conceptual design of the proposed program and a design scenario that included a renovation/expansion of the BCC and a hotel. The purpose of the effort was to test fit the ‘ideal’ program and to identify challenges to development/construction. Engineering studies were conducted to determine impacts related to utilities, environmental issues, vehicle and pedestrian traffic patterns, and the conditions of existing building systems such as structural, mechanical, electrical, life safety and security.
MSA’s efforts to date revealed that expanding the existing BCC to include 400,000 contiguous square feet of exhibit space and a hotel requires the use of the space currently occupied by the privately owned Sheraton hotel at the corner of Charles Street and Conway Street as well as the southbound lane of Charles Street. This necessitates acquiring privately owned property, demolishing the physical structures located on the property and significantly modifying/relocating existing publicly and privately owned utilities located in and around Charles Street.
In July 2019 legislation was enacted requiring MSA and the City of Baltimore to enter into an agreement to further the planning and design for the improvements of the BCC with a funding split of one-third City and two-thirds State. The legislation was enacted prior to the completion of the due diligence and conceptual design work.
Based on the findings to date and in acknowledgement of the newly enacted legislation, stakeholders recommended designing the project to a budget that aligns the program with the fiscal benefits of the modernized facility. The cost of the effort is $400,000 and will be funded by the City and State from the Baltimore City Convention Center Capital Improvement Reserve Fund.
Stakeholders include City of Baltimore, Greater Baltimore Committee, Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, Baltimore Development Corporation, Baltimore Convention Center and Visit Baltimore.
Announcements about the completion of this effort will be made as appropriate. The BCC’s modernization is expected to positively impact its position among its competitive set, create new jobs and generate additional new tax revenue for the City and State.
MSA’s role in managing the Baltimore City Convention Center Modernization Effort is to provide an unbiased, objective and thorough independent analysis. MSA’s studies provide information, not recommendations, to local officials to assist in the decision making process about investment and benefits for their communities and constituents.
The BCC East Building opened in 1979, was renovated and expanded to add the West Building in 1997 with functional space totaling just over 400,000 square feet. The BCC is a top location in the Mid-Atlantic region for organizations wishing to host conventions, meetings, banquets and other activities. The BCC is located within walking distance to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor attractions, the Camden Yards Sports Complex and rail service to Baltimore / Washington International Marshall Airport and Penn Station.
MSA Media Release - Baltimore Convention Center Modernization Effort Continues
Baltimore Convention Center Renovation / Expansion Study - Phase 1 report attachments (3) below
Gary A. McGuigan
Ayers Saint Gross
Clark Constructions Group LLC
Crossroads Consulting Services, LLC.