(BALTIMORE – October 19, 2017) – After outreach to, and encouragement by, Amazon, the Old Goucher Community Development Corporation is pleased to submit its response to Amazon’s HQ2 RFP. Our proposal-“Center City Baltimore: Amazon’s Next Day One Neighborhood”–highlights the extraordinary density of educational institutions, transportation alternatives, cultural amenities, and economic dynamism within a 1.5 mile radius of Baltimore’s core, Charles Street and North Avenue. Heeding Amazon’s leadership principle, “accomplish more with less,” the Old Goucher Community Association’s proposal provides Amazon with an incredible array of options to acquire sites that mirror its cultural values and future business needs.
And all this at a fraction of the cost similarly situated sites in Washington, Philadelphia, or New York would command.
The attached map highlights available properties (Red= State of Maryland owned; Yellow= City of Baltimore owned; Blue= Amtrak owned; and Green= privately owned). Each circle represents a .5 mile increment from Charles Street and North Avenue (i.e., .5 mile, 1 mile, 1.5 miles, and 2 miles).
Based on analysis conducted by the response team, the area within the 1.5 mile radius extending from Charles Street and North Avenue contains nearly 200 acres and 15 million square feet of development-ready real estate. Of this total, over 80 acres is owned by the State of Maryland (including the State Center and former
Maryland State Penitentiary complexes) and over 20 acres is owned by the City of Baltimore. The remaining privately-owned parcels are owned by a concentrated number of property owners, including 15 acres owned by Amtrak. Center City offers Amazon the most diverse range of building typologies and zoning options, allowing
Amazon to build a 21st century campus within a compact, walkable, and beautiful 19th century urban fabric.
Our analysis indicates that properties within 1.5 miles of Baltimore Penn Station value at approximately $150/square foot, compared to between $500-$2,000/square foot for similarly-situated property near train stations in Philadelphia, Washington DC, and New York City.
The two mile radius around Charles Street and North Avenue provides some of the best mass transit options in the Mid-Atlantic region. Nearly 90 trains run daily from Baltimore Pennsylvania Station, allowing Amazon employees the following commutes to major destinations without worries about car ownership or traffic congestion:
1. The United States Capitol–35 minutes
2. The University of Delaware–40 minutes
3. University of Pennsylvania–1 hour 10 minutes
4. Madison Square Garden–2 hours 20 minutes
5. Baltimore-Washington International Airport–13 minutes
Amtrak’s planned upgrades to the Northeast Corridor rail system–planned to come online in 2021–will introduce even faster commute times and increased capacity from Baltimore Penn Station. Additionally, 8 of the City’s 11 Metro stations are within 2 miles of Charles Street and North Avenue, along with 10 of the City’s 15 total Light Rail stations. The Charles Street and North Avenue corridors are served by a plethora of excellent bus transit options, including the CityLink Gold, Silver, and Red Lines, the Circulator, the Johns Hopkins University shuttle, and additional LocalLink bus routes.
Finally, the Maryland Avenue Cycletrack–Baltimore’s only protected bicycle infrastructure–runs through the heart of Amazon’s future campus, allowing Amazon’s employees to commute to various locations via bicycle. The transportation alternatives offered by Center City are already in place, are successful, and are not reliant on promises of buildout or integration into the the region’s transportation network.
Demographic and Business Dynamism
According to the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance, the Center City area has Baltimore’s highest concentration of businesses and employees engaged in the creative economy; the highest concentration of neighborhood businesses; and among Baltimore’s highest percentages of residents with a bachelor’s degree or higher. Homeownership and rent is more affordable in Center City Baltimore than in other similarly-situated neighborhoods in the city. Center City is far and away the most racially and ethnically diverse part of Baltimore City, with African Americans, whites, Asian Americans and Hispanics living in highly mixed-use neighborhoods.
World Class Cultural and Academic Amenities
The 2 mile radius around Charles and North Avenue is home to the Johns Hopkins Homewood campus, the Johns Hopkins Hospital and Medical School, the Maryland Institute College of Art, the University of Baltimore, the University of Maryland professional schools, and Coppin State University. Home to nearly 40,000 students in a
concentrated area, Center City affords Amazon immediate and well-integrated opportunities for collaboration and partnership. Penn Station’s Amtrak service puts Washington, DC’s, Philadelphia’s, and Delaware’s major universities within a 60 minutes of Charles Street and North Avenue.
Finally, the 1.5 mile radius around North and Charles contains the City’s major cultural destinations, including the Baltimore Symphony, the Lyric Opera House, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Walters Art Museum, the Parkway Theatre, and numerous smaller galleries and film spaces.
Kelly Cross and Jay Orr, President and Vice President of the Old Goucher Community Association, coordinated development of the Old Goucher response. Cross has said of the proposal, “We looked seriously at the requirements of the RFP, and we believe there’s no place in the country better for the location of Amazon’s second headquarters than Center City.” He added, “It’s not just the wealth of mass transit options. Our neighborhood sits in the midst of every one of Baltimore’s major universities. And according to data published by the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance this part of the city has its greatest concentration of creative sector employees.”
Elected officials for the State of Maryland and the City of Baltimore have publicly committed to “aggressively” pursue the opportunity to bring Amazon’s second headquarters to the city. While the Old Goucher response team has worked independently to address the requirements in the company’s RFP, Cross expressed confidence that elected officials would support the proposal if Amazon decides to look seriously at the neighborhood.
“Amazon is going to do what’s best for Amazon. It’s hard to imagine any elected official in any city dictating terms to the company about which site is right for their business. I have full confidence that any incentives the City or State would offer Amazon in another location will apply to Center City as well.”
Old Goucher is a diverse, historic community located in the geographic heart of Baltimore. It is bounded by Guildford Avenue on the East, 27th Street on the North, 21st Street on the South, and Howard Street on the West. The Old Goucher Community Association represents businesses, residents, property owners, and others with an
interest in the neighborhood. You can learn more about both at our website: www.oldgoucher.org or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org