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Hammerjacks gets OK from Baltimore architecture review panel

Baltimore’s architecture review panel granted final design approval for the proposed new Hammerjacks nightclub in south Baltimore, despite some reservations about the project.

Final design approval from the city’s Urban Design and Architecture Panel clears one of the major regulatory hurdles for the revival of the legendary nightclub and concert venue at 1300 Russell St., not far from M&T Bank Stadium.

The club, which will require a $14 million total investment, involves the renovation of an existing 24,000-square-foot building formerly used by the club Paradox and

Renderings showing what the new Hammerjacks will look like when construction is complete. (Renderings by Design Collective)

Renderings showing what the new Hammerjacks will look like when construction is complete. (Renderings by Design Collective)

the addition of a 29,000-square-foot concert venue and biergarten.

Despite approving the design of the building itself, the panel, which totals five members but on Thursday consisted only of Pavline Ilieva and Gary Bowden, wanted more work done regarding the public engagement between the venue and the Russel Street overpass.

Both panelists told the architecture firm Design Collective Inc. they would like to see better activation with lights and a better connection between the club and beneath the underpass.

“I just found nothing has been done to address this area we voiced so much concern about last time,” Bowden said.

Despite approving the design of the building, Bowden, at the end of the hearing, said he wanted the Hammerjacks’ team to present to the panel again. Kevin Butler, CEO of Hammerjacks Entertainment Group, said his team would work with staff to make desired design improvements.

“We’re probably just going to work offline with them,” Butler said in a telephone interview.

The design panelists did praise some subtle changes in design of the building itself. One of the biggest changes in the renderings presented to the panelists was the reduction of a tower that initially included a large Hammerjacks logo and lighting bolt on the side.

The new club is the latest concert venue to use the name Hammerjacks, which dates to the late 1970s. The venue reached the peak of its standing in the 1980s as a den for hard rock and heavy metal.

The legendary version of the club, located underneath an overpass for Interstate 395, was bought by the Maryland Stadium Authority in the late 1990s to make way for parking at the new football stadium.

Another club billing itself Hammerjacks opened on Guilford Avenue in 2000 but never reclaimed the rock ’n’ roll glory of its predecessor, closing in 2006.

But the latest act in the life of Hammerjacks is on course to begin later this year. Butler said opening in the fourth quarter of 2017 remains his focus.

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