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Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
"We want to attract developers like Cross Street Partners and City Life Builders who have a vision and passion for building on the City’s strengths," Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said. (The Daily Record/Maximilian Franz)

Mayor’s development plan to focus on 6 key industries

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and the Baltimore Development Corp. released a new economic development strategy that will guide city efforts for the next five years.

At the heart of the plan is focusing economic development on six key industry clusters: financial and professional services; health and bioscience technology; arts, culture and tourism; logistics; information and creative services; and advanced manufacturing.

“Right now, Baltimore’s economy is growing, and I plan to keep it that way,” Mayor Rawlings-Blake said in a statement announcing the new plan. “This new report will help us write the next chapter of success in Baltimore’s rich history. By utilizing this comprehensive, results-driven strategy, I am certain that Baltimore will continue to attract and retain residents and businesses, expand job opportunities, and invest in our neighborhoods.”

The economic strategic plan needed to be updated so the city remains eligible for U.S. Economic Development Administration funding. The plan will be open for public review and comment for the next 30 days. In the middle of December the city will incorporate the public responses to the plan in a final document. The Baltimore Development Corp. board and the mayor then have to formally approve the plan before it’s sent to the federal government.

Baltimore Development Corp. President and CEO William Cole said the idea to focus on six key industries came in part from the consultant who produced the report as well as what the available data said was the best strategy. According to the report, Baltimore should focus on these key industries because of competitive advantages such as its well-developed transportation system, a competitive wage scale and highly educated workforce.

The goals for each individual sector will be to develop additional businesses, increase jobs and bring in new investments. The report also said its important to develop more collaboration among companies within and across the sectors. It also calls for the city to identify sites near the port for development, assembly and distribution facilities.

To aid in the development of these clusters the report also urges the city to make more investment in mass transit and walkability to improve quality of life that will help it retain companies.

“It wasn’t one of those things that we drilled down on those six areas arbitrarily. It was what came out of the data, the research and the analytics that were done as part of the preparation for the report. So, this was work that was done through meetings with stakeholders, lots of data analysis and analytical work,” Cole said.

About Adam Bednar

Adam Bednar covers real estate and development for The Daily Record.