Baltimore Fashion Week looking for new location

Officials now working with the city in search for new location after things fall through in Harbor East

August 10, 2011|By John-John Williams IV, The Baltimore Sun

Since January, Baltimore Fashion Week founder Sharan Nixon has been operating under the assumption that she would hold her four-day event in the tony neighborhood of Harbor East.

Nixon announced Wednesday that after months of meetings and dozens of e-mails with H&S Properties Development Corp., the group responsible for developing the Harbor East area, she was not able to secure a lease with them and is therefore in talks with Baltimore City officials to move the event to another location.

The decision means that less than a week before Nixon's four-day event is scheduled to begin, she may have to abandon her plans of hosting her gathering in a tentlike structure, the same kind used in the storied Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City. The 16,000-square-foot tent is made by Karl's Event Rental, the same company that provides the temporary structures used at the New York event.

"I'm devastated," Nixon said Wednesday morning while fitting models for the upcoming fashion show. "To have the ball dropped and not receive a lease from Harbor East was heartbreaking. That's where I wanted to have the structure. Then to have no type of concerned interest from them, I'm tired. I'm just tired of trying."

Nixon said she had four in-person meetings and more than 60 e-mail exchanges with H&S Properties Development Corp., dating back to Oct. 17. She said she doesn't know why she never received a lease to host her event. The plan was to host the event on a swath of land near the Morgan Stanley building. Nixon has said that the location was a dream for her.

It was always Nixon's intent to keep Baltimore Fashion Week in Baltimore. But during the fall of 2009, after concerns about parking and safety, she decided to move the event from the War Memorial Building, its home for the first two years, to the Sheraton Baltimore North in Towson.

Less than a week after last year's event ended, Nixon began meeting with officials from H&S Properties Development Corp.. By December, she said she had entered into a verbal agreement to host the event there.

"I waited in their offices and even offered to type up the lease myself," she said. "They never responded."

Christopher Janian, development manager for H&S Properties Development Corp., the group responsible for developing the Harbor East area, could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.

Nixon said she is in the process of securing another location within the city.

"My son and I have driven around the city looking for a location," she said. "If I can't work something out, I'll have to take it back into the county again."

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