Should Baltimore City sell virtually half of Redwood Street to promote the speculative real estate scheme of a private developer? This is the issue before municipal authorities in Leonard Attman's request to acquire two lanes of Redwood Street so he can build a 32-story office tower known as Baltimore Financial Centre.
The sooner the city rejects this bid, the better.
Since the days before World War I, when it was known as German Street, Redwood Street has been in the center of Baltimore's financial district. Major banks are in the area, so are important law firms and shops. In fact, for decades, the signature of the whole downtown skyline was written by the 780-foot-tall Maryland National Bank tower and its glorious Art Deco ornaments.
If Baltimore wants to improve the attractiveness of its downtown, two things are crucial. One is to operate in an atmosphere that encourages quality development and the economic benefits it brings. The other is not to do anything that might create blight and congestion and force major firms to leave downtown for Owings Mills, the BWI corridor or White Marsh.