Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Theater company ready to shake things up in city

While the craze in residential these days seems to center on apartment life, condominium sales in the metropolitan area rose slightly in the second quarter of 2013, a new report says.

Overall, there were 48 sales of new condos in the Baltimore area and 29 of them were in the city, the report by Delta Associates released this week says.

In the past year, there was a total of 396 sales in the metro region, the report stated, a 19 percent increase from 2012 statistics. New condo prices even rose nearly 11 percent.

The report says there is 1.8 years of inventory in the metro area. The Federal Housing Finance Agency says that house prices increased in the metro area 3 percent between March 2012 and March 2013, lower than the national average of 6.7 percent during that same period.

“All the world’s a stage,” Shakespeare wrote in “As You Like It.”

This coming week, those words will live at Calvert and Redwood streets.

That’s where the Columbia-based Chesapeake Shakespeare Company will officially break ground on its new urban platform in the historic Mercantile Building.

It will be the latest addition to the city’s strong local live performance space.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will be on hand to help at the CSC event set for Tuesday beginning at 10 a.m. It is being billed as a groundbreaking, but, in true dramatic fashion, will actually be a sledgehammer slinging fest instead, as officials work to help demolish the former disc jockey booth at the site that recently was a club in order to set off official construction on the conversion to a 250-seat “modern Globe” theater.

The entire project will cost $6.7 million, including acquisition of the building, says Jean Thompson, a spokeswoman for the company.

Not far away, officials at Everyman Theatre are wrapping up data on their first productions in the new house.

The Everyman season officially opened last August in the theater’s former location on North Charles Street in the Station North Arts District. But in mid-January, Everyman moved into its new house in the former Town Theatre, once a vaudeville location, and opened with “August: Osage County.”

The season ended late last month, and theater officials there are busy working on the new offerings, set to open at 315 W. Fayette St. on Sept. 4 with “The Glass Menagerie.”

Laura Weiss, spokeswoman for Everyman, said this week the theater has sold more than 5,000 subscriptions and broken box-office records with the “August: Osage County” run.

The city-owned Hilton Baltimore remains awash in red ink, an audit recently released and approved by the Board of Estimates this week said.

This past year, the 757-room downtown hotel near the Baltimore Convention Center lost $11.2 million, a slight improvement over 2012, when it lost $11.5 million, the audit said. Overall, though, the property has lost $65.1 million since it opened in 2008.

In response, city finance officials have hired experts to study the taxpayers’ investment there. Look for anything from a debt restructuring to possibly a probe into a sale of the property in the future months.

When he was mayor, Gov. Martin O’Malley pushed for a $300 million taxpayer-backed bond sale to build the Hilton.

According to a sliding scale created when the bonds were sold, large debt payments loom for the Hilton that will come from the city’s already strained general fund if profits continue to elude the operations. In September, $18 million is owed on the debt, likely to come from hotel occupancy taxes collected that had been going into the general fund.

Chances to make up some of the ground in the coming Grand Prix of Baltimore are also shaky.

Race officials have selected the Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards — not the Baltimore Hilton — as the official hotel of the racing event that opens Aug. 30.

TIDBITS: A Bolton Hill landmark is undergoing major renovations this summer. Located at 204 W. Lanvale St., the future home of the Bolton Hill Nursery School is under redesign from its former owner, the Family and Children’s Services of Maryland. Harris Kupfer Architects and Acropolis Construction Co. are overseeing the work. The school will open in the fall. … Three Baltimore County communities have been identified by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development and Maryland Department of Planning as “sustainable community areas.” They are: Catonsville/Patapsco, Dundalk and the Hillendale/Parkville/Overlea areas. Officials there are now eligible to apply for state funds for projects related to economic, transportation and housing. … This Sunday, beginning at 2:30 p.m., Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz plans to mark the 50th anniversary of the desegregation of Gwynn Oak Amusement Park. He will unveil a historical marker at 5900 Gwynn Oak Ave. in Woodlawn, now owned by the county. Many will gather to recall and tell stories of the desegregation of the local amusement park, noted as a “defining moment in Baltimore civil rights history” on July 7, 1963.