A real estate industry conference about topics such as mass timber construction and the turbulent lending climate turned into a plea to help the city of Baltimore, when developer Thibault Manekin addressed the audience.
Manekin, a co-founder of Seawall Development and member of a family that has long been in a leader in the local real estate community, was one of the featured speakers in a “State of the Market” forum organized by bisnow.com and held last week at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel.
The topic of Manekin’s panel discussion, before more than 100 real estate professionals, was “Analyzing Baltimore City and County Real Estate Markets.” Toward the end of his presentation with co-panelist Brian Gibbons of Greenberg Gibbons, Manekin made a personal observation about his experience as a developer working in Baltimore City.
“You know I was thinking, we’re in Baltimore City and I’m amazed at the amount of conversations that I still have with people the last few years who refuse to come down here,” he said. “This is the economic driver. We’re all sitting here because of what Baltimore City has been, is, and will be in the future. We can’t abandon it. We can’t turn our backs on it. We can’t pretend that the opportunities aren’t great and that the challenges aren’t great. We can’t sit on the sidelines.”
Manekin noted that Greenberg Gibbons this year consolidated its offices from Annapolis and Owings Mills to the 40Ten building on Boston Street in Canton.
“I love that you guys moved your office down here,” he said to Gibbons. “That’s incredible.”
He encouraged others in the audience to be strong advocates for Baltimore, especially when they hear people criticize the city.
“When you’re in your conversations, when people say they’re not going to come down here anymore, they’re not going to come out to dinner, they’re not going to go to Clavel, they’re not going to go down to Harbor East, they’re not coming to Remington, we’ve got a responsibility to remind people of how important it is, what Baltimore has always meant to us and what it will continue to mean to us. We can’t give up on it. There’s too much good here, too many great small businesses. There’s too much opportunity to turn our backs on it. I’d just encourage all of us to keep that in mind [and] continue to be champions of this amazing place.”