The Living and Real Estate Beat: Under Armour and ESPN to build basketball courts, the Lord Baltimore changes its pets policy, and more

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  • In the Most Important News since it was announced a while back that GrubHub would start delivering Taco Bell—the Lord Baltimore Hotel (20 W. Baltimore St.) changes its pets policy as of March 1 to allow dogs on two of its floors, reported the Baltimore Business Journal. It will cost you an extra $50 to bring your pooch to the hotel.
  • The City Council committee on taxation, finance and economic development voted unanimously to approve tax breaks for Northwood Plaza at the request of nearby Morgan State University. It went to full council vote on Monday, Feb. 26 (after the Beat goes to press). The beloved shopping center has been getting more attention lately with many noting that it has fallen into neglect (though shout out to Sunny’s Subs!) and a planned two-level Barnes & Noble bookstore with a Starbucks has generated lots of interest in the plaza, which is close to Morgan State.
  • In what seems like another shake-up in the Baltimore Police Department, police Colonel Melissa Hyatt, who was the highest-ranking woman officer in the BPD, has left to be the vice president of security for Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Medicine.
  • Downtown Partnership has announced it supports a state bill to increase the minimum wage to $15. On Twitter, the organization posted: “Employees and working families need a strong minimum wage to live & stabilize their communities – which is why I just advised our state legislators of Downtown Partnership’s support for the proposed statewide $15 minimum wage increase.”
  • Under Armour and ESPN have announced they will team up to turn vacant lots into recreation spaces such as basketball courts, playgrounds, etc. in three cities, including Baltimore (the other cities: Philadelphia and Los Angeles). $400,000 in grants will be available to local programs to lobby for the money via Local Initiatives Support Corporation, along with the money UA and ESPN are offering.
  • The Hanover Bridge will begin repairs in 2019, says the Baltimore Department of Transportation, noting that repairs will be costly—likely more than $100 million. Councilpersons Ed Reisinger and Eric Costello, however, have said the bridge is in such a degree of disrepair that improvements should begin sooner. Primarily, they encourage a $5 million “redeck” of the bridge, fixing its surface and preventing potential damage to cars driving over the bridge.
  • As the new Lexington Market—and by “new,” we mean the knocking down of the old one and opening a new more “food hall”-like one right next to it—moves right along, there has been a side debate about moving it all together. Owen Rouse of Capital Markets at Manekin floated the idea of moving the market to the Inner Harbor in a Baltimore Business Journal op-ed. We’ll let the internet debate the ins and out of this, though we’ll just point out that moving one more thing downtown at the sacrifice of another part of the city is unwise and as Klaus Philipsen wrote on his blog, Community Architect Daily: “The history of mergers shows that combining two ailing concepts rarely breeds success, since in economics, unlike in math, two negatives don’t make a positive. Furthermore, Lexington Market is urgently needed as a cornerstone and anchor for the revitalization of the Westside which is still in need of a shot in the arm.” Meanwhile, the city, in its bowing to developers over time, has turned the idea “downtown” into a dirty word for those concerned with racial equity and the gentrification-averse. A downtown that didn’t feel like it was in opposition of the rest of the city, that didn’t feel like it was there to absorb the good of the rest of the city, and existed for both tourists and locals, would be great. Maybe put another market there instead and leave Lexington alone?
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