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Take It From The Top A Take It From The Top

August 30, 1992|By Edward Gunts

This level is the most familiar to fans because of the retail spaces that line Eutaw Street: the Orioles Baseball Store, Bambino's Pub and Pastimes Cafe. Any of them might have been twice as large, but they had to fit within the "footprint" of the warehouse like all the other spaces. The Orioles' store is a mob scene from morning to night. Bambino's Pub is a popular post-game hangout with a boisterous, "Cheers"-type atmosphere and great old photos of George Herman "Babe" Ruth, including one from his days at St. Mary's Industrial School in Baltimore.

Far less rowdy is Pastimes Cafe, an eatery with a diverse menu but the personality of a shopping-mall cafeteria. It's a convenient place to take small children, though, or to go when the barbecue is sold out at nearby Boog's Corner.

At the north end of the warehouse is the Orioles' main box office, overseen by Steve Kowalski. With more than half of the 32 ticket windows at the ballpark, it handles thousands of requests a day -- and the lines often reflect it.


Another area off-limits to the general public, the basement has the most utilitarian spaces in the warehouse, many punctuated by the massive stone piers that help hold up the building. The spaces include locker rooms and areas for uniform distribution for the more than 300 ushers, guards and ticket takers who work for the Orioles, and changing areas for several hundred ARA vendors and other employees. There are also offices of Harry M. Stevens Maintenance Services Inc., the ballpark's maintenance company, and workshops and tool storage areas for the plumbers, electricians and painters who work for the stadium authority. An underground ramp connects the warehouse to the ballpark's service concourse, so fans don't cross paths with most of the service personnel.

For all the work that has been done so far to recycle the warehouse, there's even more to come. The changes to date fill only slightly less than half the warehouse -- about 196,000 of the total 430,000 square feet. The rest, on the south end, is still space available for redevelopment -- a prime opportunity for this linear city-within-a-city to grow even larger.


Official name: B&O Warehouse.

Address: 333 Camden St.

Original architect: Baldwin and Pennington.

Built: 1898 to 1905.

Dimensions: 1,016 feet long by 51 feet wide.

Original use: Storage of grain and other goods transported by the B&O Railroad.

Last use: Archives for CSX Corp., parent company of the B&O Railroad.

Total square footage: 430,000 square feet.

Square footage occupied: 161,000 square feet.

Number of windows: 898

Number of windows with shatterproof glass: 63

Previous owner: Harbor Exchange Limited Partnership, a development group headed by Morton Macks and Willard Hackerman. They planned an off-price retail center but never moved ahead with construction.

Amount Harbor Exchange paid for it: $4.6 million in 1983.

Amount the state paid for it: $11 million in 1989.

Cost to renovate warehouse so far: $20 million plus.

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