Hot crabs and cold beer at the Inner Harbor

Melody Simmons//March 30, 2012

Hot crabs and cold beer at the Inner Harbor

By Melody Simmons

//March 30, 2012

Imagine diving into a pile of hot steamed crabs and/or lifting a cold beer on the city’s waterfront at the Power Plant this summer.

That could be a reality if redesigns for two restaurant and entertainment decks are given a thumbs up for permits and design by city officials this spring.

The city’s Urban Design & Architecture Review Panel heard presentations from the Hard Rock Café and Phillips Seafood Thursday about retooling a pair of barges that sit just outside the front doors of the restaurants on the Inner Harbor.

Plans would include a redo of the Hard Rock’s deck as part of a major overhaul of the restaurant, said Joe Emanuele, the company’s vice president of design and development.

“Baltimore is an important city for us and we want to reinvest,” Emanuele said of the plans to rebuild the frame of the 36-foot by 60-foot pier to include a retractable roof and a new grill set up as an outdoor extension of the popular restaurant.

“We need a facelift there,” he added.

Next door, at the new Phillips restaurant, an outdoor crab deck would include a menu with crabs from various Maryland rivers (Wye, Choptank), an outdoor, open kitchen, a crab picking station with educational seminars on how to clean and eat a steamed crab, and a refrigerated crab truck to keep bushels of crustaceans in while awaiting the steam pot.

“You see it. You hear it. You smell it,” said Steve Phillips, owner of the popular restaurant.

Phillips said the Phillips deck would also have retractable awnings above an open-truss design, picnic tables and small twinkle lights to give it a summer pavilion look.

The UDARP is expected to vote on the design plans at a future meeting.

General Growth Properties Inc. recently said it would invest $1.8 million in improvements at the second-building Columbia Corporate Center.

The 876,475-square foot office complex in the Columbia Town Center is located next to The Mall in Columbia. The Columbia Corporate Center has office space available ranging in size from 997 square feet to 34,653 square feet.

What is it about house shopping that works?

That’s a million-dollar question. But a recent survey by Coldwell Banker Real Estate of 1,000 men and women found that both sexes rely on “how they feel and how their lifestyle fits into a home” when searching for new digs.

The survey found 28 percent of women and 25 percent of men put more emphasis on their feelings about a home than they do on the layout, square footage or price. More women – 62 percent – than men – 61 percent – know the home is right for them at first sight, the survey said.

“A home is more than square-footage and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and this survey shows just how much emotion can play a role in home buying process,” said Jessica Edwards, Coldwell Banker Real Estate consumer specialist. “When two people are looking for a home together, there are many considerations to take into account.  Of course, price and layout matter, but ‘feeling at home’ is an important factor.”

The survey also found:

— Over half of women (54 percent) say that they take the lead when it comes to decorating.

— Women also cook it up in the kitchen. Sixty-eight (68) percent of women say they are the “primary chef” for their household.


CBRE recently renewed the lease on the 10,472 square-foot Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts the city’s W.R. Grace Building at 10 East Baltimore St.

The 16-story building was built in 1973 and has 168,000 square feet of space available. Other tenants include the Maryland Workers Compensation Commission, Atapco Properties, Parsons Corp., Ashcraft & Gerel LLP and The Blaustein Philanthropic Group.

CBRE’s Vice Presidents Abby Glassberg and Kim Penny represented the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts in the renewal.

“The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts is proud to call the corner of Charles and Baltimore Streets its home,” said BOPA Executive Director Bill Gilmore.
Said Penny: “CBRE was honored to represent Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts, a wonderful asset to our city. BOPA coordinates many of Baltimore’s major events including New Year’s Eve and July 4th celebrations at the Inner Harbor, which routinely attract hundreds of thousands of spectators; Artscape, which serves more than 350,000 people each year; Baltimore Book Festival, Baltimore Farmers’ Market & Bazaar, Baltimore Open Studio Tour and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade.”


Construction of a new three-story emergency department  annex at the Johns Hopkins Bayview campus will begin this week.

The $40 million project includes relocating and adding beds to the emergency department, establishing a patient observation unit, creating a dedicated pediatric emergency and inpatient unit, and renovating space for a new psychiatric evaluation services unit.

Beginning April 1, the emergency department entrance will be relocated to the mid-campus parking lot, with access for emergency vehicles and patient drop-off on Hopkins Bayview Circle. The current entrance on Nathan Shock Drive will permanently close. Parking on the mid-campus lot will be limited.

Road closures and other traffic tweaks will also be in order for the project. Nathan Shock Drive will be closed from Bayview Boulevard to Bioscience Drive, and Maryland Transit Administration bus stops will close at the blue awning and on Nathan Shock Drive, by the emergency department, affecting bus No. 22 and No. 30 stops, which will be rerouted to Hopkins Bayview Circle.

The new 53,970-square-foot emergency department will expand from 40 to 48 beds by 2014, with double the number of ambulance bays to eight. It will have a green roof covered with live plants.


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