An artist’s rendering of the planned location for Hammerjacks, via Design Collective

The developers of Hammerjacks cleared a key hurdle yesterday when Baltimore’s liquor board voted 3 to 0 to approve an arena liquor license for their project at 1300-1320 Russell Street.

Hammerjacks is part of a new entertainment district taking shape near M&T Bank Stadium and the Horseshoe Casino.

Caroline Hecker, an attorney for Hammerjacks Entertainment Group, told liquor board members that the developers are making a capital investment of $16 million for the project, including $13 million in hard costs.

Plans by Design Collective call for a concert venue for up to 2,500 people, a beer garden, a smaller performance space and a separate indoor bar with room for about 300 people. The developers are aiming to open by the end of the year.

Hecker said the project will result in the creation of 250 construction jobs and 115 to 140 permanent jobs, and the developers are budgeting $1 million per year for security. She said the basic hours of operation will be 11 a.m. to midnight, and Hammerjacks will stay open until 2 a.m. on nights when there are concerts.

Andrew Hotchkiss, who applied for the license with Kevin Butler, told the liquor board that Hammerjacks will feature all kinds of music, and he believes its size will help it draw performers.

“We hope to attract bands who wouldn’t otherwise come to Baltimore,” he said.

Hammerjacks is expected to be joined eventually by other nightspots featuring food, drinks and music.

“We think there’s going to be a great synergy,” Hecker said. “That’s the goal of the entertainment district. People…going from to venue to venue to venue.”

“It’s exciting,” said liquor board member Dana Moore, in casting her vote. “It hits all of the bells and whistles.”

Ed Gunts is a local freelance writer and the former architecture critic for The Baltimore Sun.