Friday, April 10, 2015

Baltimore's hotel interventions remain doubtful

Remember when Mayor Schmoke declared Paterakis' Marriott Hotel at Harbor East to be the ideal convention center hotel and all the ridicule he got for that? (He was an early adopter of the "walkable city" concept in which 1.2 miles are not a big distance)!
The Marriott hotel is thriving today, only problem, it competes with the later City idea of a convention hotel, the Hilton, while it still pays no taxes a decade later. 

Meanwhile the Hilton writes losses year after year, which former BDC CEO Brodie called "paper losses". I guess money is just paper, often times. 

The Hilton is certainly no architectural gem either and, like the Marriott before, it blocks views and violates the urban design concepts in place before it was built. 

Chiefly, the Hilton blocks about 50% of the view cone into downtown from the ballpark ranks that was dear to the stadium designers. To make up for that, the views from the hotel into the bird's nest are marvelous. With the O's having recovered from their losing streaks of many years, the hotel should make money on that. But, nope. 

The next big city hotel idea may involve a new arena. I can't wait which important view it will block. 

Klaus Philipsen, FAIA

As co chair of the Urban Design Committee of AIA Baltimore I was involved in design discussions and suggestions for both hotels. 
Possibly this activity helped to lower the Marriott (then Wyndham) from what was initially proposed and to have this triangular swath of open space east of the Hilton ballrooms as a small consolation price for what had been suggested as a large "Orioles  Victory Plaza" by the UDC. 

See also this video: 

As Losses Mount forTaxpayer Backed Hotel, Politicians Scatter

Sun photo 
Sun article from Oct 9, 1997
Daily Record june 10, 2000

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