UM's UniversityCenter

December 25, 1991

The University Maryland campus in downtown Baltimore is like a huge construction site these days. The medical system alone is embarking on $170 million worth of new buildings that will give the area a totally different look by the mid-1990s. Add to that the $121 million Veterans Administration Medical Center, which will be activated by next fall, and $210 million worth of building projects for the university's academic institutions. Truly, a UniversityCenter is rising.

UniversityCenter is the new name to identify the area bounded by Saratoga Street on the north, Eutaw Street on the east and Martin Luther King Boulevard on the south and west. Up to this point, that area has had no clear identity. For a period in the 1970s, some of it was referred to as "Market Center." But the expanding University of Maryland campus clearly is its heart.

"When Marylanders think of neighborhoods such as Fells Point, Mount Vernon and Federal Hill, distinct images come to mind," said Dr. Morton I. Rapoport, president of the University of Maryland Medical System. He thinks the new name, along with such improvements as unified neighborhood logo, map kiosks, historical display panels, new signs and parking facilities, should make the area and its institutions easier to market and promote. "It's like a shopping center," he says.

More than 18,000 people live, work and study within the boundaries of UniversityCenter; an estimated one million people come in contact with the campus each year. With the inauguration of the new baseball stadium and light-rail next spring, these numbers are expected to grow significantly.

UniversityCenter occupies a pivotal location on the downtown map. It should strengthen the Lexington Market retail area. It should encourage commercial and residential development around the new stadium and act as a bridge in renewal efforts now moving westward from the Inner Harbor. It also could help generate new housing and residential rehabilitation in the Pigtown, Mount Clare and Hollins Market neighborhoods. UniversityCenter is full of promise.

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