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Center Plaza

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BUSINESS
By Kevin L. McQuaid and Kevin L. McQuaid,Sun Staff Writer | September 14, 1994
J.P. Morgan Investment Management Co. is investing several hundred thousand dollars to upgrade One Center Plaza, its first action since taking control of the 12-story office building downtown earlier this year.As part of the improvements, the company plans to renovate the 120 W. Fayette St. building's lobby with a new marble floor, install new elevators and offer significant improvement packages to prospective tenants."We saw in One Center Plaza an attractive institutional-grade property with the opportunity for full occupancy within a reasonable period of time, provided it received the type of investment that we have the financial resources for," said Susan Swan, a J.P. Morgan Investment Management vice president in New York.
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ENTERTAINMENT
by Richard Gorelick and The Baltimore Sun | December 11, 2012
If you wander over to the Holiday Craft Market on Center Plaza, there will be food for you. The market and Christmas tree sale, designed for the busy schedule of Baltimore's downtown office workers, features 35 craft and food vendors selling fine art, handmade crafts and gifts. There will be live entertainment and food from Momo Thai, Blacksauce Kitchen, Maui Wowi Hawaiian Coffee & Smoothies, Ruben's Crepes and Nutty Senstations. The Holiday Craft Market is held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday on Center Plaza, with extended evening hours on Wednesday from 4 to 7:30 p.m. Follow Baltimore Diner on Twitter@gorelickingood
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NEWS
By Edward Gunts and Edward Gunts,Sun architecture critic | October 7, 2007
If Baltimore wants to get more people to live and work downtown, it needs a greater variety of stores, better restaurants, more to see and do in general. It also needs more attractive public spaces - not just passageways between office towers, but inviting parks and plazas where people will want to linger, meet friends, and get some fresh air, after work and on weekends. Toward that end, the city took a giant step in the right direction with the recently completed, $7.5-million makeover of Center Plaza, a once-barren open space that has been transformed to an oasis of greenery in the heart of downtown.
NEWS
By JACQUES KELLY | June 27, 2009
How can this be? This isn't supposed to look like this. The other afternoon, while on Redwood Street near Calvert, a group of bellhops unloaded a car and carried luggage into the old Maryland Trust Co. building. One part of me said, 'This is a bank, not a hotel.' The same luggage transfer was happening across the street, at what I still think of as the Baker Watts investment firm. I chuckled at all this. It's been a long, long time since my grandfather brought me downtown to get a fresh stash of silver dollars at the old Maryland Trust.
FEATURES
By Edward Gunts and Edward Gunts,SUN ARCHITECTURE CRITIC | February 20, 2002
When it opened in 1970, Center Plaza was hailed as a model of urban design - a public open space critical to the success of Baltimore's 33-acre Charles Center renewal district. But less than 30 years later, it had become so bleak and desolate that some city officials considered turning it into a parking lot. "We're tossing the plan around," former public works director George Balog admitted in 1998. "Our observation is the plaza isn't being fully utilized." This year city leaders are looking at plans of a different sort.
NEWS
By Scott Calvert and Scott Calvert,SUN STAFF | March 7, 2002
Baltimore will never be Paris, but a team being unveiled today to overhaul downtown's stark and desolate Center Plaza has such high hopes that it likens part of its design to the City of Light's famed Champs Elysees. Though it lacks an arch, Baltimore's version -- projected to cost $6 million to $7 million -- is envisioned as a block-long, bustling pedestrian boulevard with cafe tables, flowers, trees and park benches on the plaza's western edge. A giant lawn would fill most of the city-owned plaza, now largely paved and often empty.
NEWS
By Julie Turkewitz and Julie Turkewitz,Sun Reporter | June 16, 2007
When the city constructed Center Plaza in the 1960s, it was a symbol of Baltimore's new industrial modernity. Towering office buildings hugged a 3-acre concrete expanse, interrupted only by the small park benches and skinny trees that dotted its rounded borders. It was Spartan and simple. But what was once considered modern is now regarded as austere and unwelcoming. So yesterday, Mayor Sheila Dixon and others gathered at the plaza, just west of Charles Street and north of Fayette Street, to unveil a part of the new Baltimore: an almost completely grassy expanse criss-crossed by wide walkways and embellished with new trees and white, purple and yellow flowers.
NEWS
By Scott Calvert and Scott Calvert,SUN STAFF | July 31, 2003
By now, work should have started to make downtown Baltimore's desolate Center Plaza a greener, livelier space for outdoor lunches and concerts. But a $1 million cut in city funding - half of what had been designated - has blown a hole in the balance sheet, adding a new glitch. Work is months away, and the $5 million public-private project on Fayette Street is about a year behind schedule. City officials blame the cut on reductions in state aid, but the leader of the plaza's overhaul has said privately that Mayor Martin O'Malley targeted the project for political reasons, developer David H. Hillman said.
NEWS
By Scott Calvert and Scott Calvert,SUN STAFF | March 26, 2004
Center Plaza, a barren space in downtown Baltimore that only pigeons and skateboarders could love, is finally getting a long-awaited facelift to make it more inviting for the rest of us. The $5.6 million overhaul, stymied by delays, is expected to begin in June and take a year. Plans call for turning the bleak, 3-acre expanse on Fayette Street west of Charles Street into grassy lawns dotted with shade trees and crisscrossed by paths. Budget committees in the state Senate and House of Delegates recently endorsed the first installment of a critical $2 million state grant, putting the last piece of funding largely in place.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Edward Gunts and Edward Gunts,Sun Architecture Critic | March 17, 2002
Baltimore's Charles Center renewal district took shape in an era when the prevailing design philosophy was "Less is more." Its buildings are relatively spare and unadorned. Its public spaces provide serviceable links between office and hotel towers but aren't necessarily attractive destinations in themselves. The winners of a recent competition to rejuvenate Center Plaza have taken an approach that could be characterized as "More is more." Their $5 million plan for reviving the area where downtown's renewal began recommends adding a wide range of features that were never part of the minimalist plaza that opened in 1970, from a lawn with portable chairs to a retail pavilion with food vendors and public restrooms.
NEWS
By Edward Gunts and Edward Gunts,Sun architecture critic | October 7, 2007
If Baltimore wants to get more people to live and work downtown, it needs a greater variety of stores, better restaurants, more to see and do in general. It also needs more attractive public spaces - not just passageways between office towers, but inviting parks and plazas where people will want to linger, meet friends, and get some fresh air, after work and on weekends. Toward that end, the city took a giant step in the right direction with the recently completed, $7.5-million makeover of Center Plaza, a once-barren open space that has been transformed to an oasis of greenery in the heart of downtown.
NEWS
By Julie Turkewitz and Julie Turkewitz,Sun Reporter | June 16, 2007
When the city constructed Center Plaza in the 1960s, it was a symbol of Baltimore's new industrial modernity. Towering office buildings hugged a 3-acre concrete expanse, interrupted only by the small park benches and skinny trees that dotted its rounded borders. It was Spartan and simple. But what was once considered modern is now regarded as austere and unwelcoming. So yesterday, Mayor Sheila Dixon and others gathered at the plaza, just west of Charles Street and north of Fayette Street, to unveil a part of the new Baltimore: an almost completely grassy expanse criss-crossed by wide walkways and embellished with new trees and white, purple and yellow flowers.
NEWS
By JACQUES KELLY | April 15, 2006
I was on a walking mission for pecan nougat Easter eggs this week when I turned west off Charles Street at Lexington. Even though I had read several articles about plans for a new look for Center Plaza, I was not ready for what I saw: Construction crews were sawing the trees that lined this 1960s square, and bulldozers were crunching paving stones. Yikes, here we go again! I am just old enough to have known and enjoyed the part of Baltimore that existed before the Charles Center and the modernist urban renewal doctrine was imposed on this part of town.
NEWS
By JOE PALAZZOLO and JOE PALAZZOLO,SUN REPORTER | March 11, 2006
In the 1960s, Center Plaza, a 3-acre concrete swath in downtown Baltimore, was called a paragon of modern urban development. It bore an industrially simple form that is now considered uninviting, After nearly four years of setbacks, disputes and funding shortfalls, the redesign of Center Plaza is under way. Project planners said yesterday that the plaza's transformation from a gray space to a verdant park embroidered with shade trees and segmented by...
NEWS
By Jill Rosen and Jill Rosen,SUN STAFF | February 22, 2005
One of downtown Baltimore's longer-suffering projects, the redesign of Center Plaza, has been delayed again. The promised transformation of the barren concrete expanse just west of Charles Street and north of Fayette Street into a grassy park-like setting was supposed to begin last June and be ready for outdoor lunches this summer. Now it's at least a year behind schedule, project organizers say, because of a disagreement with the owners of the parking garage underneath the plaza. The $5.6 million overhaul of the spare, 3-acre plaza, built in the 1960s as one of the signature components of the Charles Center urban plan, has been in the making for more than three years.
NEWS
By Scott Calvert and Scott Calvert,SUN STAFF | March 26, 2004
Center Plaza, a barren space in downtown Baltimore that only pigeons and skateboarders could love, is finally getting a long-awaited facelift to make it more inviting for the rest of us. The $5.6 million overhaul, stymied by delays, is expected to begin in June and take a year. Plans call for turning the bleak, 3-acre expanse on Fayette Street west of Charles Street into grassy lawns dotted with shade trees and crisscrossed by paths. Budget committees in the state Senate and House of Delegates recently endorsed the first installment of a critical $2 million state grant, putting the last piece of funding largely in place.
NEWS
By JOE PALAZZOLO and JOE PALAZZOLO,SUN REPORTER | March 11, 2006
In the 1960s, Center Plaza, a 3-acre concrete swath in downtown Baltimore, was called a paragon of modern urban development. It bore an industrially simple form that is now considered uninviting, After nearly four years of setbacks, disputes and funding shortfalls, the redesign of Center Plaza is under way. Project planners said yesterday that the plaza's transformation from a gray space to a verdant park embroidered with shade trees and segmented by...
NEWS
By Jill Rosen and Jill Rosen,SUN STAFF | February 22, 2005
One of downtown Baltimore's longer-suffering projects, the redesign of Center Plaza, has been delayed again. The promised transformation of the barren concrete expanse just west of Charles Street and north of Fayette Street into a grassy park-like setting was supposed to begin last June and be ready for outdoor lunches this summer. Now it's at least a year behind schedule, project organizers say, because of a disagreement with the owners of the parking garage underneath the plaza. The $5.6 million overhaul of the spare, 3-acre plaza, built in the 1960s as one of the signature components of the Charles Center urban plan, has been in the making for more than three years.
NEWS
By Scott Calvert and Scott Calvert,SUN STAFF | July 31, 2003
By now, work should have started to make downtown Baltimore's desolate Center Plaza a greener, livelier space for outdoor lunches and concerts. But a $1 million cut in city funding - half of what had been designated - has blown a hole in the balance sheet, adding a new glitch. Work is months away, and the $5 million public-private project on Fayette Street is about a year behind schedule. City officials blame the cut on reductions in state aid, but the leader of the plaza's overhaul has said privately that Mayor Martin O'Malley targeted the project for political reasons, developer David H. Hillman said.
NEWS
By James D. Dilts | April 12, 2002
Charles Center has fallen from grace. Badly patched pavement, empty stores and sleeping homeless people greet the visitor to Charles Plaza (the northernmost of three), although the vista of Richard Upjohn's St. Paul's Church across the street remains grand. An empty and forlorn courtyard framed by blank walls fronts the entrance to the Two Charles Center south apartment tower. The triangular landscaped garden at the Park Charles is attractive, but the lack of benches discourages staying around to enjoy it. Plywood covers some of the windows in Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's handsome, finely proportioned One Charles Center, the project's single best building and one of the finest in the city.
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