Martin Millspaugh, mastermind behind Charles Center, has died

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Martin Millspaugh, a former journalist with the Evening Sun who later helped orchestrate the redevelopment of Charles Center and the Inner Harbor, has died. He was 92.

As the CEO of Charles Center Inner Harbor Management, Inc. starting in 1965, Millspaugh shepherded the project to revitalize a 33-acre plot on the western side of downtown, eventually leading to the construction or renovation of more than two dozen buildings, at a time when people and businesses were fleeing the city.

In the next decade, Millspaugh would work with developer James Rouse to convert the area around the waterfront, which had mostly been used for shipping, into a central tourist attraction. Rouse built the pavilions that make up Harborplace, a marketplace of food stalls and shops that many cities soon tried to replicate.

He went on to lead a formidable development career during which he consulted on projects in 90 cities on five continents.

A memorial service is scheduled for Dec. 15 at 1 p.m.. at the Church of the Redeemer. The family is asking for donations to be made to the Waterfront Partnership in his name.

In 2011, Millspaugh was featured on our site as part of a feature called “Eight Over 80,” highlighting seniors “who still live life to the fullest.” Below is the transcript from Millspaugh’s entry.

By Kathy Hudson

Martin Laurence Millspaugh 

D.O.B: December 16, 1925, Columbus, Ohio

Education: Gilman School ’43, Princeton ’47, (Phi Beta Kappa)

Military Service: U.S. Air Force, 1944-1945

Career, Present and Past:
At 85, Martin Millspaugh, has returned to his roots as a writer. After becoming “sidetracked for four years” making the television documentary Global Harbors, he’s on chapter 13 of a 16-chapter book, whose working title is A New City in Town, a History of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

Millspaugh’s first career as a journalist began at The Richmond News Leader. Later, his writing at The Evening Sun turned him into an expert on the then-new concept of urban renewal. As the Baltimore City Hall reporter he covered urban planning issues and was the author and editor of “The Human Side of Urban Renewal.” The combined expertise led him to become the assistant commissioner of the newly created U.S. Urban Renewal Administration under Eisenhower, even as an unwavering Democrat.

In 1965 he began a 20-year career for which he is known internationally. As founder, president and CEO of Charles Center – Inner Harbor Management, Millspaugh “watched every brick go into place in Charles Center and the Inner Harbor… [and] had more to do with it than anyone else…” noted The Baltimore Sun on his retirement. During his tenure, Charles Center and the Inner Harbor received 44 national and international awards and was deemed by the American Institute of Architects as “one of the supreme achievements of large-scale urban design and development in U.S. history.”

Millspaugh’s second 20-year career, as executive vice president, president and vice chair of the Enterprise Development Company, focused on taking Baltimore’s revolutionary Inner Harbor development worldwide, either as a developer or as consultant.

Now in an immaculately organized office at Roland Park Place, Millspaugh writes the history of the greater Inner Harbor on his computer. “It’s fun reliving those days,” he says.

Key to longevity of engagement: “If I have any talent, it’s being able to take in information and synthesize it, use it to create a plan and to implement what is necessary. It’s the problem-solving process that I like best.”

Current Challenge: “Getting it down while I still have time. It’s a huge volume of information.” Plus 3,000 photos to cull through and select for the book, whose publisher is still undetermined. “I love to play golf, but I like this better.”



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