Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, Inc.
Kirby Fowler is used to balancing many roles as the president of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, Inc., which has an annual budget of about $9 million and 130 employees.
“My job requires me to be part manager, part psychologist, part educator, part politician and part architect,” said Fowler, who was named partnership president in 2004. “By their very nature, cities are a little chaotic and ever-changing. You have to rise above the noise to create a big-picture view about where you want your city, or your district within that city, to be down the road. You have to be able to engage with people who will have a different vision, and you will have to compromise if you want to get anything done.”
In 2011, the partnership announced a strategic plan that identified 23 troubled downtown properties for improvement. As a result, the partnership has redeveloped all but four properties by attracting developers and investors who helped to open 50 development projects and 40 restaurants in eight years. Fowler considers the project one of his most important accomplishments.
“As a result of the project, the downtown core now boasts the fastest-growing neighborhood in the city, and one of its most diverse,” Fowler said. “The residential population has doubled since 2011 and the average occupancy rate of new apartment buildings is more than 93 percent.
“We are proud of our role in guiding this transformation, which we have done without owning a single piece of property,” Fowler said. “We saved the core of downtown, and the future looks bright.”