Nearly two years after developers announced plans to build a $50 million, 3,750-seat concert venue called The Paramount Baltimore south of M&T Bank Stadium, architects today unveiled revised designs indicating that the project is moving ahead.
During a meeting of Baltimore’s Urban Design and Architecture Advisory Panel, architect Matt Herbert said the two-acre construction site at 1300 Warner Street has been cleared of previous structures to get ready for construction.
The Paramount is one of several leisure-oriented projects planned for the Warner Street Entertainment District, along with a Baltimore location of Topgolf, shops, a hotel and a new iteration of Hammerjack’s, the music venue that closed in 1997. It’s intended to be a flexible facility that can accommodate a wide range of events, from rock and country music concerts to comedy and children’s shows.
Herbert, of Design Collective, said the developers are considering building the project in two phases, with the concert venue as the first phase and a commercial structure containing stores and restaurants on one side of the main building as a second phase. The other option, he said, would be to construct both phases at the same time.
When completed, he said, The Paramount also will have a beer garden-type area on its west side, partially under Russell Street, and an indoor gathering area for patrons before and after concerts.
Herbert said the developers’ goal is for The Paramount to be an anchor for the Warner Street Entertainment District with a concert hall inside and an exterior that plays off the area’s industrial heritage. Exterior surfaces include brick and metal.
“The building itself is intended to…harken back to the historical area, the industry and uses that were there, in both form and material,” he said.
Review panel member Pavlina Ilieva said she would like to see the building look more like a historic warehouse and less like a strip mall.
“There is a fine line…where at some point it just becomes too generic and too flat, and we don’t want that,” she said. “This generic orange brick is not working for the project…I urge you to find something that while it is contextual is also very distinctly of this place.”
Critics Osborne Payne and Sharon Bradley encouraged the designers to think about the way the area will look when there isn’t a concert, as well as when there is a concert, and do more with the beer garden area.
Design Collective and Design 3 International are the architects. 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.
When they announced The Paramount in October of 2019, the developers said they would like to start construction in the spring of 2020 and open in the summer of 2021. Herbert acknowledged at today’s meeting that the project has been delayed by COVID-19, referring to it as a “pandemic-interrupted project” but giving no firm timeline for completion.
Kim Clark, executive vice president of the Baltimore Development Corporation, said after the meeting that she believes the developers aim to open by the end of 2022. In addition to building permits, the project also needs an “arena” license from Baltimore’s liquor board before it can begin operations.
“It’s intended to be a flexible facility that can accommodate a wide range of events, from rock and country music concerts to comedy and children’s shows.” Doesn’t sound like a wide range of events to me. Sounds like that range of events would only cater to about 10% of the city’s population.
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