SouthBMore.com Turns One: A Look at the Last Year in South Baltimore
Today marks the one year anniversary of the launch of SouthBMore.com. Needless to say, we are amazed at the popularity and support the website has received over the last 12 months (thank you!) I always knew how much I loved our area, but underestimated how many people love it just as much.
A little over a year ago, a slow winter for work and a constant craving for more news about South Baltimore developments, businesses, food, events and more led to an idea to create an online publication to keep everyone more informed. Quite honestly when I told some people close to me about the idea it was viewed with some hesitation, but it was something I wanted to try.
Here we are a year later and everything has surpassed our expectations. We’ve met some great new people through writing our stories and interacting with other South Baltimoreans online, through email and around the community. We thought there was a need for much more news about South Baltimore and the support we’ve received and interactions we’ve had with our readers have proven it true.
We look forward to more great stories and breaking more news in year two and, as always, continuing to observe all of the great things going on in South Baltimore.
On that note, let’s take a look at some of the biggest stories that shaped an amazing and eventful last 12 months in South Baltimore.
1. The Ravens Win the Super Bowl
People can disagree on just about anything whether it’s politics, policies, ethics, food, music, etc. But there is something truly special about the unity of a city when your team wins a championship. When you put on your purple, people who you may never interact on a daily basis become best friends.
I’ve been living in South Baltimore for most of the last 11 years and seeing the Ravens or Orioles win a championship while I lived here was a dream that I could only have hoped would become a reality. The Ravens run to the championship was truly something special that I’ll never forget for the rest of my life. From random people hugging, high-fiving and dancing in the middle of the street to purple lights and signs of support everywhere you look to any type of purple foods imaginable being sold in the grocery stores, it was an amazing and special time for our city.
It is hard to explain to people when they ask what makes Baltimore great, especially when it’s a city that always feels like it’s taking heat nationally. But you only need to look at thousands partying in the street, overflow crowds in the harbor sending their team off to New Orleans, Bourbon Street turning into Cross Street for a weekend, and people climbing fences to get into an already filled M&T Bank Stadium just to show the Ravens how much they love them for bringing a championship to our underdog city. What makes Baltimore so great is, quite simply, pride that can’t be matched.
2. The Orioles Return to Relevance
It’s never a good thing when a freshman in high school has never seen the Orioles have a winning season in their lifetime. The last 14 years were filled with a lot of pain, but against tall odds, the Orioles made it back to the postseason and put pride back in the color orange, which has been missing since boy bands were a big thing. Baseball is back in Baltimore and the better the Orioles are, the better it is for the downtown economy. If the massive crowd at last month’s Orioles Fan Fest was any indication, there are going to be a lot of people at Camden Yards this summer.
3. A Baltimore Casino Becomes a Reality
Gambling in Maryland has been talked about for a long time and even after it was approved five years ago, no progress was made on a casino in Baltimore thanks to litigation. Gambling giant Caesars Entertainment was awarded the casino license in July, table games were passed in November and work has now begun on a new $400 million casino on Russell St. just south of M&T Bank Stadium. Whether you support gambling or not, it’s no doubt Horseshoe Baltimore will become a huge part of South Baltimore that will attract a lot of people, a lot of investment and provide the area with a lot of impact funding.
4. Baltimore Sailabrates
Baltimore’s leaders are always looking for ways to put Baltimore in a positive light and the Star Spangled Sailabration was a grand slam for the city of Baltimore. The city was filled with tourists, events, big boats, Blue Angels and more and the event went off better than anyone could have imagined (the Orioles even swept the Pittsburgh Pirates out of town!) They are planning another celebration in 2014 and, needless to say, it will be highly anticipated and hopefully another great event for the city.
5. Retail Madness
It wasn’t often that I got in my car over the last 12 months and didn’t notice a new business opening in South Baltimore. McHenry Row opened, Southside Marketplace underwent a makeover and new businesses popped up everywhere from Light St. to Charles St. to Pigtown Main Street to Hollins Market and more.
6. Real Estate Comeback
The real estate collapse in this nation was well chronicled, but South Baltimore came surging back in the last 12 months. Rehabs crews were back at work, new townhome developments ran out of inventory and apartment buildings were completed and planned. Several realtors described 2012 to SouthBMore.com as the best they’ve ever seen.
7. Wells Street Makeover
I used to describe Wells St. as looking like it was hit by an atomic bomb and no one ever bothered to clean up the mess. It’s been a big 12 months for the street at the end of SBNA and Riverside. Wells St. has seen the completion of 1901 South Charles St., the announcement of 2 East Wells and Chesapeake Craft Brewers, and the opening of Hersh’s. Once one of the worst looking streets in South Baltimore, Wells St. could become one of the nicest in the next couple of years.
8. Downtown Apartment Boom
The City of Baltimore and the Downtown Partnership were on a mission to bring more housing to downtown Baltimore and developers have responded. There’s been an explosion of plans revealed for new apartment buildings and office building conversions highlighted by the Mechanic redevelopment, Bank of America Building and more. Here is a nice gallery of some of the projects that have been announced by the BBJ. Downtown Baltimore can feel less than lively outside of the work week, but soon there will be thousands of new residents in the core of our city to brighten up the streets when the stock market closes.