South Baltimore Business Roundup

| April 14, 2017 | 1 Comments

Astrology Boutique Relocates

Astrology Boutique has relocated from 1049 S. Charles St. to 1033 S. Charles St., the former home of Buyer’s Edge. The retail space at 1049 S. Charles St. has a ‘for rent’ sign on the front.

Pirate Boats Coming to the Inner Harbor

A new pirate boat attraction will be coming to the Inner Harbor this summer. From The Baltimore Sun:

The city’s spending board approved a five-year contract Wednesday with the Living Classrooms Foundation to repair a dilapidated dock between the World Trade Center and the National Aquarium and operate the new attraction there.

The nonprofit will spend about $300,000 to replace the dock and purchase a dozen four-seat electric boats for the public to rent, said Chris Rowsom, Living Classrooms vice president. The boats, equipped with faux cannons, crow’s nests and pirate flags, and will be docked near the 30 Chessie Dragon paddle boats.

A new statue will also be built in the Inner Harbor:

The city Board of Estimates also accepted a $200,000 grant Wednesday to build a statue and garden next to the Maryland Science Center in honor of the late Clarence H. Du Burns, Baltimore’s first African-American mayor.

Parking Panda Acquired

Federal Hill’s Parking Panda has been acquired by SpotHero. From a press release:

“We’re thrilled to combine forces with Parking Panda to bring easy parking to more drivers faster,” said Mark Lawrence, co-founder and CEO, SpotHero. “We’ve long admired Parking Panda’s talented team and ability to drive product innovation. SpotHero’s consumer focus and great mobile experience are further strengthened by Parking Panda’s strong B2B technology and partnerships.”

Prior to the acquisition, Parking Panda established over 800 strategic partnerships, including event parking partnerships with numerous NHL, NFL, MLB, and NBA teams, as well as major convention centers, sports arenas, theaters, and municipalities. In 2016, the company leveraged this strength in partnerships and event parking to enter the Canadian market, quickly achieving scale. SpotHero will leverage Parking Panda’s momentum in Canada to continue building holistic mobility solutions for drivers and parking companies in 47 major cities across North America. With what is already the largest network of connected garages in the United States and the broadest base of mobile-first consumers, SpotHero is positioned to replicate this success in Canada.

SpotHero also will accelerate its aggressive B2B product roadmap with the integration of Parking Panda’s robust suite of tools and technology, including unique SaaS offerings designed for the parking industry. For consumers, the expanded engineering team will mean rapid innovation to SpotHero’s award-winning platform with a heavy focus on driver convenience.

“This is the most natural progression for our company,” said Parking Panda CEO Adam Zilberbaum. “By joining forces, we will have a greater impact on the transportation landscape, making parking more convenient through technology. We’ve long held values similar to those of SpotHero, including putting drivers first, investing in our people, and building great products.”

SpotHero’s Co-founder and CEO Mark Lawrence will continue to serve as CEO, and Parking Panda’s leadership team of CEO and Founder Adam Zilberbaum and COO James Bain will remain with the company.

New Food Truck Zones Added

Baltimore City has added 10 new food truck zones that will be open daily from 9am to 3pm. From Baltimore Business Journal:

The announcement comes in the midst of a lawsuit brought by food truck vendors against the city last May. Truck owners Joey Vanoni of the Pizza di Joey and Nikki McGowan of Madame BBQ, sued the city over the law creating the food truck zones. Under the law, operators found to be in violation face a fine of $500 and could have their license revoked.

Vanoni and McGowan claim the law hurt their businesses and prevented fair competition. Meanwhile, lawyers representing the city argued the burden of the law on food truck owners was minimal, and that the 300-foot rule is designed to protect business owners who have invested more in their business and infrastructure than those operating food trucks.

The suit has been moving through the Baltimore City Circuit Court.

The zone locations are:

  • Loyola University — Charles Street, near the Evergreen Museum & Library entrance
  • MTA’s Rogers Station — 4500 block of W. Rogers Avenue
  • District Courthouse — Mt. Hope Drive at Wabash Avenue
  • Sinai Hospital — 2400 block of Cylburn Avenue
  • Coppin State University — 2500 block of W. North Avenue
  • University of Baltimore — 1500 block of Maryland Avenue
  • University of Maryland, Baltimore — Pine Street, between Vine and Fayette streets
  • Penn Station — St. Paul Street, just north of Mt. Royal Avenue
  • Station North — 200 block of E. North Avenue
  • Franklin Street, between Park Avenue and Howard Street

The Institute for Justice, representing Vanoni and McGowan released the following statement:

This announcement is nothing more than an unsuccessful attempt by the city to make it appear as if it is promoting food truck freedom. The answer to the city’s unconstitutional 300-foot ban is not to create food truck zones. The answer is to get rid of the ban completely, along with the idea that Baltimore can protect brick-and-mortar businesses from mobile vending competition. The city itself has admitted that the ban’s purpose is to protect one group of businesses at the expense of another. That is just plain wrong. IJ, Pizza di Joey, and MindGrub will keep fighting until Baltimoreans are free to decide where to buy their lunch.

Little Havana Wins Award

Federal Hill’s Little Havana was named Best Liquid Brunch in The Baltimore Sun’s Best of Baltimore Readers’ Choice.

The World Cup in Baltimore? 

The United States is submitting a bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup alongside Mexico and Canada. Baltimore is hoping to be a location for the soccer tournament. From Baltimore Business Journal:

Terry Hasseltine, executive director of Maryland Sports, said he put a call into the U.S. Soccer Federation on a potential role in the bid and to have M&T Bank Stadium and FedEx Field, in Landover, be part of a proposed venue list.

Baltimore was part of the U.S.’s bid package to host the World Cup in 2018 or 2022, being named to the final 18 cities to host games. The events were eventually awarded to Russia and Qatar, respectively.

“We want to make sure we are active on any bid out of the U.S. when it comes to soccer,” Hasseltine said. “We want to make sure the U.S. Soccer Federation is aware of our interest to be part of the process and we are sitting here ready and able should they need us.”

Attendance Boost for Light City 

Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts has estimated a 17% increase in attendance at Light City Baltimore in its second year. Last year the festival had an estimated attendance of 400,000 and this year had an estimated attendance of 470,000.

Photo Courtesy of Light City Baltimore

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About the Author:

Creator of SouthBmore.com and resident of SoBo. Graduate of Towson University and owner of Incept Multimedia, a full service video production company. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, beach volleyball enthusiast, dog lover and "bar food" foodie. Email me at Kevin@InceptMM.com and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
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  • Luu Pham

    The trivialization and denigration of the word “freedom” as used by these Food Truckers and their stupid lawsuit is why this country will never live up to its promise