Hall of Fame: the Early Players in the Charles Center-Inner Harbor Success


One of the reasons for making the Global Harbors documentary was to record the names and the roles played by the earlier players - the “visionaries,” who rose to fight the threat of municipal bankruptcy and in the process created the Baltimore Renaissance. Some of them put into motion the plans - legal, physical and governmental - that turned out to be so spectacularly feasible and right. Others took those plans and delivered the results, relying on nerve, hard work and the reluctant support of their fellow citizens.

Baltimoreans today express complete surprise when they are told the Inner Harbor story actually began in 1954-55, when the Committee for Downtown and the Greater Baltimore Committee were formed. As the Wall Street Journal reported in 1981:

“It's easy to assume Baltimore was reborn in 1980, when the Rouse Company opened Harborplace...But the city actually began to turn itself around in the 1950's. The revitalized downtown is the product of a sustained effort by a small group of executives, planners and politicians...an urban renewal effort that's been under way for 30 Years.”

The following is an attempt to give recognition and credit to more of the people who were key players in the beginning and throughout the years of development -- when every time a new challenge or hurdle rose up, the right person seemed to appear to keep the process on the right track. Very briefly, an initial list is as follows, in roughly chronological order from 1950 up to the creation of the “critical mass” of Inner Harbor attractions in1980-81:

The Pre-Renaissance Years

Charles Buck: Chair of the non-governmental private watchdog Commission on Governmental Efficiency and Economy, which issued the report saying that the city was on the verge of municipal bankruptcy in 1952 - providing the stimulus for the downtown redevelopment program.

J. Jefferson Miller: the retired department store executive who started the whole adventure by forming the Committee for Downtown to raise money to pay for the Downtown Master Plan, and who was the $1-a-year General Manager of the successful Charles Center Project for the first decade. He then became the first Chairman of Charles Center-Inner Harbor Management, Inc.

James W. Rouse, author of the national urban renewal program and one of the founders of the Greater Baltimore Committee (GBC). After the Charles Center Plan was put into execution, he directed his attention to Howard County, where he built the new city of Columbia between 1960 and 1980. He later returned to create Harborplace in the Inner Harbor - the catalyst for the critical mass of attractions that became a worldwide tourist destination.

Clarence Miles: the city's most prominent lawyer in the 1950's, who brought the Orioles back to Baltimore and gave the GBC its start by becoming its first Chair - thus ensuring its credibility and status in the business community.

Walter Sondheim - widely known for his civic leadership in many causes, he was also the Chairman of the nation's first municipal Urban Renewal and Housing Commission, which funded the Charles Center development. He later became the advisory Chairman of Charles Center-Inner Harbor Management, Inc., while acting as advisor to many Mayors and Governors.

Eugene Feinblatt: Founding partner of a prestigious law firm, he wrote the legal statutes that created the Baltimore urban renewal program and the city Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD); he crafted the contractual structure that empowered Charles Center-Inner Harbor Management, Inc. in its role as manager of the program, and authored the trail-blazing land development agreement between the city and the Hyatt Development Corp.

Oliver Winston, former Director of the Baltimore Housing Authority; in 1956, he became the first Executive Director of the Baltimore Urban Renewal and Housing Agency.

Archibald Rogers, founder of the architectural firm RTKL, who served a year as the interim Executive Director of GBC after its formation; he later provided the technical justification for the State Highway Commission to move Interstate 95 away from the mouth of the Inner Harbor.

William Boucher III: the Executive Director of the Greater Baltimore Committee in the crucial years from 1957 through the 1970's, when the GBC provided the high-profile, unselfish business leadership that gave the downtown development program its necessary credibility and support.

William Ewald and Edward J. (Ned) McNeal: successive Executive Directors of the Retail Merchants Association, who implemented Jeff Miller's fund-raising campaign and later provided P.R. support for the Charles Center project, including the unique Downtown Discovery Tours for suburban and out-of-town groups to appreciate what was happening downtown.

Phase One: The Charles Center Project

Hunter Moss: James Rouse's early business partner, a mortgage banker and real estate appraiser who was the hands-on Chairman of the Planning Council of the Greater Baltimore Committee, Inc. when its planning staff created the Charles Center Plan.

David A. Wallace: Director of the Planning Council of the GBC, who directed
the creation of the Charles Center Plan and then formed the private planning firm WRT - which created the Inner Harbor Master Plan and designed the Promenade and Constellation Pier and many of the other public improvements.

George Kostritskv: the urban designer for the Planning Council of the GBC, on the team that created the Charles Center Plan; he later became the “K” in the RTKL architectural firm, where he designed the three public plazas in Charles Center.

William B. Potts: the chief urban planner for the Planning Council of the GBC in the creation of the Charles Center Plan; later acted as planning consultant for Charles Center-Inner Harbor Management, Inc. in the implementation of the Inner Harbor plan and secretary of the Architectural Review Board.

Harry Cooper, Economist for the Planning Council of the GBC in the creation of the original Charles Center Plan and other strategic plans.

Marion Warren, the legendary architectural photographer, who was hired by the GBC to record the images of Charles Center "before" and "after" redevelopment, and then continued to record the Renaissance on his own until 2006. His pioneering photographic techniques had much to do with the community's acceptance of the Charles Center project.

Boyd Barnard, head of Larry Smith & Co., the feasibility analyst for Chas. Center

Dennis Durden, analyst at Larry Smith & Co., first Deputy General Manager. of Charles Center; he began the public-private partnership and set up the land disposition policies for the implementation of Charles Center

Charles Seymour and Fred Babcock, appraisers and fair market value analysts for CC-IH Inc.

Barbara Johnson Bonnell: the first Deputy Executive Director of the GBC, who became Director of Information for Charles Center-Inner Harbor Management, Inc., and then for the Baltimore Development Corporation through the 1990's.

David L. Barton, a textbook publisher and P.R. expert who master-minded the surprisingly successful marketing campaign for the Charles Center Project and became Chairman of the Baltimore City Planning Commission at the time of the Inner Harbor development.

Isaac Hamburger: head of the family-owned Hamburger's men's clothing store; as a member of the GBC, he abstained from voting against the Charles Center Project even though it would demolish his newly-rehabilitated store, so that there would be unanimous approval by the GBC.

Thomas J. D'Alesandro. Jr.: who was the powerful Mayor at the time the Charles Center Plan was created by the business community and had the good sense and political nerve to accept it and move it into implementation in record time.

Theodore R. (Ted) McKeldin: as Governor he persuaded the State Legislature to approve a $25 million bond issue in 1958 as working capital for Charles Center -- in spite of the initial doubts as to its feasibility; later he returned as Mayor and launched the city full force into the 300-acre Inner Harbor project.

Richard L. Steiner: the first Director of the Baltimore Redevelopment Authority, who went to Washington to become the Federal Urban Renewal Commissioner and then returned to Baltimore in 1959 to become Executive Director of the nation's first municipal Urban Renewal and Housing Agency, overseeing Charles Center and the Inner Harbor development.

Bernard Weissbourd: the Chicago developer who saw the potential opportunity in Charles Center and retained the World's premier architect, Mies van der Rohe, to design the first building in Charles Center - giving the program a profile of design excellence.

Mies van der Rohe: considered the world's greatest architect at the time his design won the competition for development rights for the first building in Charles Center.

Jacob Blaustein: head of the American Trading and Production (Amoco) empire, who narrowly lost the design competition for the development rights for the first building in Charles Center, but went ahead and successfully developed his own building -- in the same high-risk market as One Charles Center.

Martin Millspaugh: became Deputy General Manager of Charles Center with Jeff Miller in 1960, and then created Charles Center-Inner Harbor Management, Inc. (CC-IH) in 1965 and became its Chief Executive during the development of the Inner Harbor; in 1985 he joined James Rouse in the Enterprise Development Company, to take the Baltimore Inner Harbor model to other cities in the U.S. and abroad.

Herb Channick, vice president of Metropolitan Structures,Inc., of Chicago, and project director for One Charles Center.

Jerry Trout, retired construction supervisor for the Hecht Co., who fulfilled that role for CC-IH.

Bernard Manekin: real estate broker and developer who directed the critical leasing program for One Charles Center, in the face of a negative market and community doubt; he later became Chairman of the Greater Baltimore Committee.

Robert B. Hobbs: CEO of the First National Bank of Maryland and Chairman of the GBC Development Committee, who led the campaign to market One Charles Center to corporate tenants, at considerable risk to his own position, and later became a principal advisor and Director of CC-IH, Inc.

Albert M. Copp: joined the Charles Center staff in 1961. He served as Executive Vice-President and COO of CC-IH from 1965 to 1985 and President until 1990; he was primarily responsible for the successful functioning of the public-private partnership between CC-IH and the many career Departments of the City Government.

Larry Fenneman: Baltimore realtor who became the City's business relocation manager on the staff of the Charles Center Management Office and later CC-IH, Inc. compiling a record of the successful relocation of more than 700 businesses, with more than 90% finding new locations in the City.

Pietro Belluschi. Dean of Architecture at MIT, who was the dominant force on the Architectural Review Board for Charles Center and the Inner Harbor, and later designed the IBM Building in the Inner Harbor and became a career Gold Medalist of the American Institute of Architects.

Morris Mechanic: a real estate investor and owner of the old Ford's Theater, who developed the new Mechanic Theater in Charles Center as the City's only legitimate home of Broadway shows.

Jon Johansen: the Connecticut-based architect of the Mechanic Theatre, which featured pioneering design features and was labeled - along with One Charles Center - as “one of the important U.S. buildings of the 1960's.”

Charles and Tim Mullan: residential developers who created the award-winning Two Charles Center apartment towers as the first downtown residential development in the Charles Center-Inner Harbor era.

Ted Wolff: CEO of the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company, who saw the opportunity in the Charles Center Plan and directed his company to build the second private office building in the new project.

Zanvyl Krieger: Baltimore businessman and real estate investor who restored and rejuvenated the Lord Baltimore Hotel to create a successful hotel component with the Baltimore Hilton in the Charles Center project.

Walter Rothschild: financial vice president of the family-owned Sun Life Insurance Company, who devoted years of his life to the development of the company's headquarters building in Charles Center.

John Motz: CEO of the Safe Deposit and Trust Company before its merger into the Mercantile Trust, who convinced many of his private trust clients to support Charles Center and became the Chairman of the Planning Council of the Greater Baltimore Committee during the development of the Inner Harbor.

The Inner Harbor: Playground For Baltimoreans

Theodore R. McKeldin (again): the former Mayor and Governor, who returned to
become Mayor for the second time in 1964, and launched the city into the development of the entire Inner Harbor area.

Tom Todd and David Hamme, partners of David Wallace in WRT: the primary designers of the I.H. Master Plan and the award-winning Inner Harbor Promenade and Shoreline development, which became the Playground for Baltimoreans in the 1970's.

Morton Hoffman: widely-respected private residential and economic consultant for BURHA, and the author of the feasibility study that supported the Inner Harbor and City Hall Plaza Master Plan in 1964.

Gus Noack, partner in Rummel, Klepper & Kahl, he was the original design engineer for planning the infrastructure development that underpinned the successful plan for the Inner Harbor project.

George, Miles & Buhr: Easter Shore engineering firm who created the original water quality and dredging and fill analysis and construction plans or Inner Harbor Project 1 in 1967-'70.

Whitman, Requardt: Engineering firm who created the analysis and construction criteria for the redevelopment of the piers in the early stages of the Inner Harbor project.

Tom Gisriel, Bill Hoffman - members of the City Law Dept., attorneys for CC-IH in carrying out the land acquisition an disposition phases of the development.

Arthur McVoy, Philip Darling, Larry Reich: Directors of the Baltimore City Planning Department between 1960 and 1985.

Nathaniel Owings, Norman Klein: the Chairman and Director, respectively, of the Design Concept Team, which was commissioned by the Federal Highway Administration to find the solution that removed the Interstate Highway System from the mouth of the Inner Harbor in 1966-'68.

Carl Folkemer and Louis Huber: Pastor and lay leader, respectively, of Christ Lutheran Church, who persuaded a congregation that had mostly moved their homes to the suburbs to become developers of the first buildings in the Inner Harbor project.

Allen Quille: a successful real estate developer and parking operator who developed the pioneering Quille garage, across the street from the site of the World Trade Center.

Greg Halpin: Deputy Administrator of the Maryland Port Authority, who successfully championed the Inner Harbor plan for the development of the World Trade Center through a series of postponements, in several gubernatorial administrations.

Harry Hughes: Maryland Secretary of Transportation who risked the political consequences of authorizing construction of the World Trade Center, and later became a successful and popular Governor.

I.M.Pei: his architectural firm designed the World Trade Center; the partner in charge was Harry Cobb.

Walter J. Jeffrey: CEO of U.S. Fidelity and Guaranty Company - the first private company to make a commitment to build its headquarters in the Inner Harbor; the USF&G tower, tallest in the city, provided the credibility for other private firms to build headquarters buildings on the new Pratt Street Boulevard.

Vlastimil Koubek: architect who designed the USF&G Building - the first high-rise in the Inner Harbor - using the revolutionary “slip-form” method of construction.

Ken Wilson: African-American businessman, who saw the potential in the water plan for the Inner Harbor and took on the challenge of operating the Inner Harbor marina when the project was still in its infancy.

Harry Bard, Bill Lockwood: President and Vice-President, respectively, of the Community College of Baltimore, who created the college's Inner Harbor campus as a pioneering academic development, representing the first African-American constituency to participate in the downtown redevelopment movement.

Edgar Ewing: assistant director of the Baltimore Urban Renewal and Housing Agency who became vice president of CC-IH, Inc., and raised the Federal government's financial commitment for the Inner Harbor West residential component.

Charles Ackerman: an Atlanta-based developer, he arranged the Dutch financial investment in Harborplace and developed two of the major office buildings in the Inner Harbor project, for the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company and the Equitable Trust Bank.

Thomas J. D'Alesandro, III, Mayor after Ted McKeldin's second term, at the time of the riots of 1968; he presided over the successful campaign to move the Interstate Highway system out of the Inner Harbor and the creation of the City Fair and the “playground for Baltimoreans” in the Inner Harbor.

Barbara Mikulski: community activist who led the Road Wars - the campaign to move the Interstate Highway away from Fells Point and Downtown: her success led to her overwhelmingly popular election as City Councilwoman, Member of Congress and U.S. Senator.

William Donald Schaefer: four-term, “do it now” Mayor and the strongest supporter of the Inner Harbor development, who led the transformation of the Baltimore citizens' attitude toward their city from that of a collective inferiority complex to one of pride and accomplishment, helping Baltimore come to be regarded as a model for cities all over the World.

Sandra (Sandy) Hillman: Mayor Schaefer's public relations and promotion executive who was the creator and supervisor of the City's hugely successful marketing and community participation program in the 1970's and 80's, when the foundation for the billion-dollar tourist industry was laid.

Hope Quackenbush: a legitimate theater executive who successfully managed the pioneering, new Mechanic Theater in Charles Center and stimulated the highly successful City Fair program, which reversed the negative community feelings engendered by the riots of 1968.

Donald Stewart: Executive Director of the historic floating museum, the U.S. Frigate Constellation, when it became the City's first Inner Harbor attraction and the sculptural symbol at the focal point of the Inner Harbor development.

Bernard Werner and Frank Kuchta: Baltimore City Directors of Public Works who supervised the successful creation of the municipal infrastructure during the development of Charles Center and the Inner Harbor, respectively.

Fred Jarvis: landscape architect and partner in the Land Design Research firm, who designed the “temporary” Shoreline parks that served as the playground for Baltimoreans envisioned by the Inner Harbor Master Plan for 30 years.

A Critical Mass Of Attractions: Building A Tourist Destination

Alan Davis and Nigel Wolf: Chairman of the Board and Director, respectively, of the Maryland Science Center, who managed the move of the Science Center to the Inner Harbor; Mr. Davis donated the state-of-the-art Planetarium.

Frank Gunther, Chairman Emeritus of the Board of the National Aquarium, who led the design and development of the Aquarium after the successful completion of the municipal bond issue referendum in 1976.

Peter Chermayeff: Partner in the Cambridge Seven architectural firm, designer of the National Aquarium in Baltimore and other aquarium projects around the World - including those stimulated by the Baltimore model in cities such as Chattanooga, TN, and Osaka, Japan.

Richard Donkervoet: managing partner of the architectural firm CS&D, which designed the Baltimore Convention Center in conjunction with the DMJM firm of Seattle.

A.N. Pritzker: patriarch of the Pritzker family of Chicago, owners of the Hyatt Hotel chain; he saw the future promise of the Inner Harbor Master Plan and negotiated the trail-blazing financial deal that made it possible to build the Hyatt Inner Harbor Hotel.

George Pillorge: partner in the RTKL architectural firm who rescued the design of the Hyatt Hotel and later designed the Inner Harbor Center office building.

Charles Benton: the trail-blazing financial genius of the Schaefer administration, who created the program of Trustees for Loans and Grants, a city-owned insurance fund which enabled the city to finance $150 million worth of public-private projects through a minimal investment of municipal bond funds.

James W. Rouse (again); after successfully completing the new city of Columbia, he created the Festival Marketplace at Faneuil Hall in Boston, and then at Harborplace in the Inner Harbor, where it became the catalyst for the critical mass of attractions that created a worldwide tourist destination.

Richard O. Berndt: partner in a prominent Baltimore law firm who was the unsung hero of the hard-fought referendum on the proposal to build Harborplace in 1978; he masterminded the public-private political campaign which prevailed when the voters decided to vote “yes” and “no” on separate questions on the ballot.

Ben Thompson; the Boston architect who designed Harborplace in conjunction with James Rouse, and later became a national A..I.A.. career Gold Medalist.

Bruce Alexander, James Dausch: Senior Vice President and Development Director, respectively, of The Rouse Company, who supervised the construction, leasing and successful operation of the Harborplace project.

Matt DeVito: President of the Rouse Company while Jim Rouse was Chairman and Harborplace was conceived; he later became Chairman and CEO, and headed the company when the pioneering mixed-use project of the Gallery was developed.

O. Bowie Arnot: leasing representative and consultant who leased a major portion of the Harboplace project, later joined CC-IH, Inc. as Vice President for New Business Development.

Douglas Tawney: the Baltimore City Director of Recreation and Parks during the Charles Center and Inner Harbor development years, who provided strategic support from the quasi-independent Park Board for the projects' pioneering forms of public space and waterfront uses.

M. Jay Brodie: the first Deputy Commissioner of the city Dept. of HCD from 1978 to 1987, later became Commissioner of HCD and still later - in 1995 -- the first President of the Baltimore Development Corporation of today.