Two pavilions with view

Our view: Harborplace is up for sale

it needs a new lease on life

January 06, 2009

It may be a buyer's market, but Harborplace is going to be a tough sell. General Growth Properties, the financially strapped owner of the pavilions and The Gallery, says it is looking for investors or buyers for its waterfront markets here and in New York and Boston. Buying into these projects would require deep pockets since the commercial credit market is so pinched, but as critical to the future of Baltimore's prime waterfront venue, an investor would need vision.

The heart of the Inner Harbor's revitalization 30 years ago, Harborplace remains a draw for tourists. But its revolving door of eateries and shops makes for a less than inviting experience. Some experts feel the pavilions have outlived their purpose. Harborplace and its companion property, The Gallery, need a new reason for being. General Growth Properties has done a passable job of keeping them going since purchasing the Rouse Co., but even if GGP finds new partners, the dismal economy may stand in the way of any major investment in the properties. However, just as Inner Harbor East was re-imagined, the intersection of Pratt and Light streets demands inspired attention.

These are valuable public amenities, and civic leaders should be eager to help any revitalization effort. That corner of real estate led the redevelopment along the Inner Harbor. Its future should be secured.

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