A “world-class” concert venue is in the works for South Baltimore.
The Paramount Baltimore is the name of a $50 million, 3,750-seat concert facility being planned for a two-acre site at 1300 Warner St., part of the casino entertainment district taking shape between M&T Bank Stadium and the Horseshoe Casino Baltimore on Russell Street.
A private group called Paramount Baltimore LLC presented plans for the project yesterday to Baltimore’s Urban Design and Architectural Advisory panel, and issued a statement saying its principals aim to start construction in the spring of 2020 and open by the summer of 2021.
The owners of the Horseshoe Casino Baltimore are behind the project, and the casino’s logo was featured on drawings shown to the review board. Development team principals at the meeting included Arthur Adler of Caves Valley Partners and Bob and Vivian Goldstein.
Caves Valley and Caesar’s Entertainment Corp., the casino operator, have worked in recent years to acquire property around the casino that can be redeveloped with new uses that draw people to the area and anchor the entertainment district. The concert hall is intended to do that.
“The Paramount will create the ultimate concert experience for the public and the entertainers,” the development team said in its statement. “The Paramount Baltimore aims to become a world class, legacy venue for the greater Baltimore market.”
The group said the 80,000-square-foot building will be a highly flexible facility that can accommodate a wide range of events, including “rock, country, R&B, comedy, hip-hop, disco, metal, pop, alternative music and children’s shows.”
The new venue will create about 80 jobs and 60 more during events, according to Kim Clark, executive vice president of the Baltimore Development Corporation.
The project’s lead architects, Matt Herbert of Design Collective and Jim Baeck of Design 3 International, presented the design to the panel. Mahan Rykiel is the landscape architect.
Baeck told UDAAP members the developers were drawn to the large but dilapidated brick warehouse at the Warner Street site. The developers initially wanted to save the existing warehouse and convert it to a concert venue, he said, but the warehouse turned out to be in such poor condition that it was unfeasible to work with, so they decided to replace it with a new structure.
He and Herbert said the new three-story building will have an industrial aesthetic that reflects the historic nature of the district and fits in with the area south of the football stadium.
Another early element of the South Baltimore entertainment district is Topgolf, a driving range planned for the current site of the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS), which is relocating to Cherry Hill.
A new iteration of the old Hammerjacks night club and concert venue has been planned for 1300 to 1320 Russell Street, with room for up to 2,500 people. It has already been tentatively awarded an “arena” liquor license, but its developers haven’t announced an opening date.
The Paramount Baltimore will be a sister facility to the Paramount in Huntington, on Long Island in New York. That venue opened in 2011 with a capacity of 1,573 people and accommodates a variety of events, from concerts to comedy to boxing. Musical performers have included Billy Joel, Ed Sheeran, Rod Stewart, Jeff Beck and Don Henley, and comedians to take the stage there have included Kevin Hart, Whoopi Goldberg, Jim Breuer and Dana Carvey.
Herbert said one feature that will separate the Paramount from other local concert venues is that operators will have a members-only music club on the second level where concert-goers meet performers while they’re in town. In Huntington, it’s called the Founders’ Room.
He stressed that the entire facility is designed to be pedestrian-friendly, with a possible restaurant at street level and other features that will add life to Warner Street and complement other attractions in the area.
“The goal of the project is really to create a sense of place that is unique,” Herbert said, “so that people will come back to enjoy this place not because there’s a certain performance… but they’re coming to this place to enjoy and be part of this district and there just happens to be a fun show as well.”
Herbert and Baeck said patrons will be able to park in existing lots in the area, and the Paramount will make provisions for patrons using Ubers, Lyfts and other ride sharing programs. The larger vision, Herbert said, is for guests to be able to walk from one attraction to another, extending their stay in the district.
“We want people to come to the casino. We want them to go to the restaurant. We want them to see a show,” he said. “The idea is really to enhance the walkability of the district.”
This story has been updated.