Questions and Answers: Advice to a City
Advice to a City Starting a Waterfront Redevelopment Program
(Answers to a Questionnaire from Seoul, South Korea, May, 2006)
1. Explain about CC-IH
Answer: CC-IH was a private corporation controlled by a contract
with the municipality, under which it agreed to manage the Charles
Center and Inner Harbor redevelopment projects on behalf of the City,
and to turn any profits over to the municipality. It was created
by J. Jefferson Miller, the department store executive who raised
the private funds for the creation of a Downtown Master Plan, and
Martin Millspaugh, a former Baltimore journalist who was previously
Assistant Commsisioner of the national Urban Renewal Administration.
Mr. Miller and Mr. Millspaugh first managed the Charles Center project
from 1959 to 1965 as the private Charles Center Management Office,
but when the City asked them in 1965 to also manage the much larger
(eight times as much area) Inner Harbor project, they formed the
Charles Center-Inner Harbor Management Corporation (CC-IH), with
Mr. Miller as the non-executive Chairman and Mr. Millspaugh as the
President and Chief Executive.
The corporation had no assets and no stock; the three-man Board of
Directors met once a year for lunch and made no decisions, because
the company's purpose was to carry out the decisions of the Mayor
and City Council, expressed through the corporation's client, the
Baltimore Commissioner of Housing and Urban Development.
2. What was your role in CC-IH? and the development
of the Inner Harbor?
Answer: My role is explained above: I was the chief
executive of the organization retained by the City to manage and
direct the redevelopment of the 300-acre Charles Center-Inner Harbor
urban renewal area. Mr. Miller died in 1970, and in 1985, when the
original Inner Harbor Master Plan was substantially completed, when
I resigned to join the late pioneering urban developer, James W.
Rouse, in taking the Baltimore waterfront development model to other
cities around the World. Since then CC-IH Corp. has been superseded
by the Baltimore Development Corporation, which is under contract
to the City to manage new development and redevelopment in all parts
of the City.
3. How did you deal with pressure for commercial development
rather than public use?
Answer: When the original plan was created, the City
of Baltimore was in such a precipitous economic decline (like all
old northeastern U.S. cities at that time) there was practically
no market for private commercial development. The public infrastructure
and open space were developed first, with government funds -- local,
State and Federal. Then locally-based corporations picked up the
gauntlet to create new commercial projects, followed by out-of-town
and foreign investors when the strength of the market had been demonstrated.
4. What factors make successful public-private partnerships?
Answer: The two sectors need to identify their true self-interest
in the outcome, and commit a proportionate share of the investment
cost. Then they need to share information and responsibility in
the execution of the project so that both receive the benefits
they deserve. If either party violates that process, the partnership
5. What are the differences between partnerships in the 1960's and
Answer: I know of no substantial differences, except
that the public sector has become more sophisticated about the types
of investment and incentives that it can legally provide to a project,
and the private sector is more knowledgeable about the need to work
for the public benefit and share information with the public, in
order to justify the public participation. The community's role is
different: the citizenry is also more sophisticated, and demands
and receives much more transparency in the public-private deal-making.
6. In the beginning, was there any consideration to
preserve the historic built environment?
Answer: There was actually little concern for that in the beginning,
except for saving the structures that would contribute to the new,
redeveloped environment (five buildings each in the Charles Center
and Inner Harbor). Since then concern for preservation has grown
over the years, until it is today a major factor in the preparation
of urban renewal plans. An outstanding example is the former power-generating
plant located on Pier 4 in the Inner Harbor, which was slated to
be demolished in the original Master Plan, but later saved and
recycled into the project's principal entertainment project, with
Hard Rock Cafe, Barnes & Noble
bookstore and Disney's first ESPN Zone sports bar and indoor activities
7. Is the Baltimore Inner Harbor successful?
Answer: By all measures, it is hugely successful:
primarily by (a) restoring the citizens' pride and self-esteem in
their hometown; (b) providing a focal point of public parks and attractions
for the enjoyment of all local residents; (c) adding property values
that have created $60 million annually in local property and entertainment
taxes; (d) spreading the name and a favorable reputation of Baltimore
across the U.S. and around the World and (e) creating a $3 billion
tourist industry where none existed before.
8. Did you imagine such success when the project was
started in the 1960's?
Answer: The original Charles Center project was directed
at the economy of the Central Business District. The Inner Harbor
project was directed at the property surrounding the Inner Harbor
and the Shoreline, where the main purpose was to create a playground
for Baltimoreans. There was no thought of attracting tourists, and
there were practically none coming at that time.
Then in 1976, the Tall Ships came to Baltimore after
the Bicentennial Celebration in New York. Ten of them tied up around
the Shoreline playground for Baltimoreans and held open house for
the public. Hundreds of thousands of visitors came from hundreds
of miles away, and we realized we might have a tourist destination
without knowing it.
Our consultants told us we could have one, if we added
some major attractions; so we spent the next five years building
the Science Center, the National Aquarium, the Convention Center,
and the Hyatt Regency Hotel. When Harborplace opened in 2000 it acted
as the catalyst, creating a critical mass with the other attractions.
The result was a visitor destination that attracted 20 million attendance
the first year, and up to 21 million thereafter. Two-thirds of those
were Baltimoreans, who came again and again, but the other one-third
-- 6.5 to 7.0 million -- were tourists. That has continued up to
the present day.
The Inner Harbor was admired before that time for
its Shoreline promenade, passive parks and boating activity. The
playground was sucessful, and attracted dozens of local events and
ethnic festivals, but since the visitor explosion in 1980-81, city
officials, professional planners and private entrepreneurs have flocked
to the Inner Harbor from all over the World -- to learn how to do
the same sort of development back home. This has been duly recorded
in the press media, and Baltimore's fame has spread accordingly.
9. How do you see the current waterfront?
Answer: Cultural: 25 new attractions and museums, ranging from
the National Aquarium to the Maryland Science Center and the Outdoor
Symphony Amphitheater. Commercial: millions of square feet of new
and rehabilitated office space and 5,000 new or recycled hotel
rooms. Residential: 4,000 to 5,000 new or recycled apartments and/or
residential condominiums throughout the downtown area. Historical:
a collection of local and national shrines such as the Old Otterbein
Church, Federal Hill Park and the USF Constellation. Leisure and
entertainment: 1.5 million square feet of attractions, restaurants,
night clubs and convention and meeting facilities, as well as 180
acres of outdoor open space around the shoreline of the historic
Inner Harbor and a public pedestrian Promenade that circles the
Inner Harbor and extends for seven miles along the edges of the
outer Harbor. Environmental: the result of all of the above, with
the resulting cleanup of the water quality, buildings constructed
with strict design controls and over
it all a close attention from the public opinion of the community.
10. What factors played roles in creating the success?
Answer: (a) A near unanimous determination to reverse the frightening
economic and social decline of the center city in the 1950's. (b)
Sensible and practical urban planning by professional, government
and business leaders working together on a pro bono or non-profit
basis. (c) A non-political, non-profit, public-private management
organization, funded by government, in charge of implementation.
(d) Strict attention to a level of excellence in urban and architectural
design quality. (e) A long-term view of development, with a mixture
of uses that could take advantage of shifts in the business cycle
and in public tastes over a period of a generation (25 years).
11. What are the main problems, and what is the future
Answer: There appears to be no threat to the area's
successful appeal to locals and visitors in the short range. A finding
that the public areas were suffering from heavy use and some neglect
has resulted in the creation of a Business Improvement District,
which will raise the level of maintenance and public safety through
voluntary funding contributions by the businesses that are dependent
upon the Harbor's viability as a magnet for visitor spending.
In the long-range, the base of the success of the Inner Harbor may
be safe because of the appeal of the water and the unique heritage
of the Inner Harbor as the birthplace of the city.
However, the problem is the tendency for its huge
success to stimulate more and more development of all kinds, creating
a danger of overbuilding and a relaxation of the standards of design
quality, which together can jeopardize the ambience that now attracts
millions of people to the center city -- to live, work and play.
What will happen in the future depends on whether the city government,
the business sector and the community combine to control that danger.
There are already both good and bad examples, leaving the long-range
future somewhat in doubt.