Discussing the future of downtown Baltimore with Dan Rodricks

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After they were done discussing his two-play run at the Baltimore Museum of Art, Dan Rodricks and Nestor discussed Harborplace, Camden Yards and the future of downtown and what the “big idea” might be that brings people back to the heart of the city on the Maryland Crab Cake Tour at Gertrude’s. Warning: This segment includes “Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll.”

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

stadium, baltimore, talk, years, orioles, waterfront, city, idea, john, give, dan, downtown, bramble, living, harbor, space, angelo, point, public, open

SPEAKERS

Nestor J. Aparicio, Dan Rodricks

Nestor J. Aparicio  00:00

Welcome back, WN st Towson, Baltimore and Baltimore positive we are positively at gertrudes at the BMA that’s Baltimore Museum of Art come on by. It’s free. It’s cool. It’s awesome. You know when I came here with the cone sisters in fifth grade, it was like a stuffy you know, sort of you know, it’s

Dan Rodricks  00:17

like 78 modernized not coming

Nestor J. Aparicio  00:20

here as a pop art in the beautiful stuff here. Dan show is here. Dan Rodricks is my co host guest friend. It’s all brought to you by the Maryland lottery I have the gingerbread snaps I’m going to these really do smell a gingerbread the peppermint pay out I’m not sure about we had the unwrapped cash tickets that don’t do not smell like Christmas trees. These are not I call them sniffers on the air in front of the executive director the Marathwada still try to work with swept back from that. Also our friends at window nation 866 90 nation and Jiffy Lube multi care putting us on the road. We’re going to have three different kinds of crabcakes here at gertrudes. Today, John shields is going to be your Councilwoman Odette Ramos who tipped me off about the vegan crab cake here’s made with zucchinis we’re going to sample that I sampled some fried oysters in a salad and some cream a crab soup

Dan Rodricks  01:05

which goes to poboy the OG oyster po boy was quite good. I bet it is. Yes sir.

Nestor J. Aparicio  01:11

Baltimore, you have no idea is to play I loved it. Last year on opening night I kiss dance. But last year on the crabcake tour, Dan fade these told him you need to do it again for my friends. So I’m bringing folks here next week and some of my sponsors fade these rural farms. We’re gonna take care of a lot of people we love my family, my son, people who love Baltimore, Baltimore positive, my sponsors. So we’re doing that. We’re done with that. Go watch the segments on Eric because he, by the way, have a gift for you before you leave to Baltimore in the future and the things you write about and the David Bramble project and the tie up with the Orioles money, I put a picture up that somebody shared last week from 1972. It’s an aerial from, as opposed to an area an aerial photo southbound from what looks to be the top of like 100 East Pratt right now, like literally down light street to the harbor, it is all brown dirt. The highest The only thing that you can see that still recognizable would have been the news, American building, right? And McCormick that had a McCormick sign upon lights. And on the other side, the Church on the back end of where I lived off of Lee Street and Federal Hill as a very like it loosens like green grass or that even look like it has cannons on it or anything like you know. It was an empty palette. And I said 50 years later in my mind and my heart and my soul having lived here and you made a home here, what they built down there really worked.

Dan Rodricks  02:50

The time you’re talking about is the time right after urban renewal when the city decided to condemn and clear away all the old wharf still industrial waterfront of Baltimore immediate downtown around the Inner Harbor. So that’s why and it looked like that for a long time. They

Nestor J. Aparicio  03:09

said what are we going to do with it? Yeah, they had it look, well, we can because I know you’ve been on that dish. Look, it was it was empty for a long

Dan Rodricks  03:15

time. Yes. Right. It was actually a public park called Sam Smith park. There was a statue of I think it was General. Yeah, General Sam Smith, who’s that statue was later moved to Federal Hill. But it was a public park for a long time. And they had the city fair there for several years. They would Schaefer was became mayor and 71. And during that period, they were trying to bring people

Nestor J. Aparicio  03:39

down the city fair 74 567 before you got here, I

Dan Rodricks  03:43

believe it started in the 60s and carried into the 70s. And that’s that was the location of it. And then in 1978 they Schaefer was mayor and James Rose, who was the developer of Columbia. They proposed doing something there other than just a public park. So Rob was proposed water harborplace which was a waterfront mall, right, but two pavilions, light Street and Pratt street. A lot of people were opposed to it because they liked the open space like that fact that the waterfront was an open place for the public but Schafer felt you got to bring people downtown because people are fleeing, you know, we had a lot of white flight from Baltimore during the 60s and early 70s. And you had to be bring bring people downtown, there was a fight over harborplace and actually went out to referendum the voters had to decide whether to give up public space, a public park for a development, and it did pass by passed about 100,000 people voted and passed by about 16 17,000 votes in 1978. And then that gave Ross the opportunity to go ahead and develop harborplace But he had to leave most of the place open as parkland. That was the condition of the referendum that passed so there’s a little At a Harvard plays history,

Nestor J. Aparicio  05:01

I have some didn’t build on every little nugget of space down there. And I think that space pretty wise, the Science

Dan Rodricks  05:07

Center,

Nestor J. Aparicio  05:08

aquarium and feel that people have had a lot of fun and like the rusty scupper, and just that whole, that whole basin, you really came to life. And I’ve seen the picture from 50 years ago where it was a blank palette.

Dan Rodricks  05:23

Right, right, right.

Nestor J. Aparicio  05:24

I don’t know that it’s a blank palette now, but it certainly it has some footprints of other things, you know, whatever the Renaissance mall was, I’m

Dan Rodricks  05:30

glad you’re mentioning this because a lot of people miss a point about harborplace. I mean, I think it outlived its usefulness. I don’t know that you need it now. Because so much have well, you don’t need it now. But there’s so much that’s grown up in Baltimore since then think about it. I mean, Camden Yards is another example of something that wasn’t there. When harborplace open. The aquarium only opened like a year after the after

Nestor J. Aparicio  05:54

all the money goes into Harbor East as well.

Dan Rodricks  05:57

The whole thing that no one expected no one expected Harbor East to happen like it did. That’s that waterfront. That whole area is like a city within a city. Right. And then now you have Harbor Point where there’s still construction going on there. None of this happened. None of this was there. They I mean harbor Harbor Point was Allied Chemical Harbor East was John Patrick is his parking lot for h&s Bakery trucks. That’s all that was down there. Right. So a lot has happened since harborplace. Got things cooking. And it lived outlived its usefulness. It also had terrible management for many years. So removing it now it’s a good idea, replacing it with what Bramble proposes. That’s another question for the public to decide.

Nestor J. Aparicio  06:39

Yeah, I’m trying to get him on the show. And I’ve talked to other people, but I want to talk to him. i Yeah, I’m a journalist I want to talk to that’s one of the things about Angelo’s and shouty running and not living here. I mean, all these things that I’ve pimped for 32 year envelopes, you know, no, but I’m saying, but for people who don’t live here who want the benefits of us living here and our tax dollars and $600 million for sports teams, and I mean, for Bramble, I, I want to talk to him because I don’t people ask me about it. And I’m like, I don’t feel like I know enough because I haven’t asked enough questions. I’ve invited Eric Costello, Juan, who’s been out in front of it. I had Jeff Retno on a couple of weeks ago, who’s a local developer and as a part of the Federal Hill Community Association, with all the questions about transportation and crime and how are we going to get home from work and what’s really going to how long is this project going to be

Dan Rodricks  07:31

or whether you should be building a 32 and a 25 storey apartment towers on harborplace. That’s, that’s, that’s the catch. For me I

Nestor J. Aparicio  07:39

invest in in the Inner Harbor. I’m a unique cat, Dan, I bought a condo, so do the math on this. I bought a condo for $419,000 in 2003, and sold it for $380,000 in 2021. And I put $250,000 of improvements into it. So that’s was my math of owning a place and being a resident of that literal basin with that view from the 23rd floor. I had a beautiful life. We loved living there. We never really wanted to leave, we didn’t have any outdoor space. You know, my wife, I mean, my wife saw my wife fly fishing, we didn’t have a garden, we didn’t have a grill, we didn’t have outdoor space. So after 20 years, we decided Alright, we’re gonna we’re gonna move we couldn’t get rid of our place we couldn’t give it away. For years the plague was a part of that the obviously what pretty gray all that happened. Right. But to think that they’re gonna put all of this residential down there. I keep asking the same question. And this will get us into the Maryland stadium authority fight you and I, what’s the idea? John Angeles wants all this money and they’re gonna give the Ravens this money and they’re gonna have improvements to this and bonds for that. At least Bramble has an idea. Like at some point, I hope he sits with me. I hope he gets to tell you.

Dan Rodricks  08:56

I’ve interviewed him a couple of times about this. And I’ll tell you what, it’ll tell you is it downtown needs density, it needs residences, people living their feet on the ground. And that’s what he wants to accomplish. He doesn’t feel like harborplace can be successful, unless you have more residential space. i Yeah, but you agree right on harborplace. I mean, he owns his company. MCB owns the old news American parking lot, which is now a parking lot. He used to be the were the news American newspaper was printed at 300 Pratt Street, right across from harborplace. That’s been sitting there for years waiting for someone to redevelop it. There was a

Nestor J. Aparicio  09:36

just Shake Shack parking lot, basically now is what Yes, yeah, it’s

Dan Rodricks  09:41

the space between the hotel and it’s right there. 300 East Pratt street across the eastern edge of harborplace. I mean, his company has it. I said to him last week. He said why don’t you just why don’t you build your tower there? Why does the tower have to be on harborplace which is Paul Look land. And I just say to people, I don’t take for granted that it’s public land, I don’t say Oh, well just just go ahead and develop it. It’s the last piece of open space down there. I’m saying it should be all open. But you know, you’re gonna you’re going from what’s basically a pup tent harborplace to a permanent 32 and 25 storey buildings on public land. And I think the city, people in the city have to think hard about that. We don’t build apartment towers in Central Park, New York doesn’t do that. There’s a lot of good a lot of cities with waterfront property in Europe and the United States. And it’s open. It’s, you know, the promenade is great. And it shouldn’t all be open, there’s got to be something to attract people there. Restaurants are a good idea. I like half of brambles plan. I don’t like to personally don’t like to see the public land turned over to apartment towers, there’s room for that elsewhere. There’s office space downtown that needs to be converted to residents to get the density that that

Nestor J. Aparicio  11:05

my point would be what are you going to do with all the rest of it all the rest of those standing buildings that will never ever be those old athlete insurance company again, like it’s never gonna be First National Bank or Provident Bank or Maryland bank. MCB

Dan Rodricks  11:19

also has one East Pratt, which we think is with a lot of people know it as the old CMP phone company building.

Nestor J. Aparicio  11:26

That’s my word. My wife got to start here. Ball rising.

Dan Rodricks  11:29

Yeah, well, who knows what they could do there. I mean, there there are other places to build. There’ll be the Kona grill building for exactly the current year. So you know, the idea that you could build a I don’t know, a 44 storey apartment building on the old news American lot and have 900 apartments, just across from harborplace relieves this whole idea of, of the building towers on harborplace. itself. Right. And then as far as the Orioles go, what’s

Nestor J. Aparicio  12:00

the is there there? In the harbor? Isn’t there? That’s exactly it’s the harbor

Dan Rodricks  12:06

is there. I say to people, people need to I hear people say people need a reason to come downtown. Is it the harbor? Is

Nestor J. Aparicio  12:13

there gonna be next summer?

Dan Rodricks  12:16

This possibility? It’s impossible. I understand. I don’t think I think we take for granted with an attraction. That is how lucky we are to have a waterfront.

Nestor J. Aparicio  12:28

We all want to use right. Yeah, that’s what I would say to sensible.

Dan Rodricks  12:30

It’s accessible to the public right now. Right? I don’t know who build big apartment buildings there. I don’t know how accessible it feels.

Nestor J. Aparicio  12:39

Alright, so you get Tom kelser thing. Tom has been under the weather. I hope he joins me Hollywood can see if he hasn’t we’ve already done two hours on this. And I went to him and I purposely didn’t try to read any of the hyperbole before I had him on. And I did the dummies. My questions and I know more about it than almost anybody I’ve met because I’ve chronicled them for 30 years. parody clauses what the numbers were a bit on there. So I’m not like what John Angela cyclic accused your former colleague, Dan Connolly, back on the Martin Luther King Day of like, what could you possibly know as a journalist, John Angeles, his head would spin because I know enough to sit here and talk all night about all of this massive money, you know, all the move in the A’s. Whether Nashville is real or not the bonds that they gave to the Titans down there. So I know all of this stuff. I don’t know Tom Kelso did the zoom with me and an hour and 15 minutes into it. I’m still asking questions. He’s still answering everything added up for me. I got together with him again. And I said I want you to come back on and good. Let’s talk about this MOU because we didn’t talk enough about our end of understand what Wes Moore and the owner of the Orioles were real jersey on the biggest night of the year. Yeah. Oh, did a papell wave. I congratulated the governor and attacks. I don’t congratulate him. It

Dan Rodricks  13:52

was a stadium lease. We felt it was a 30 year lease. It wasn’t it was a memorandum of understanding. It was a

Nestor J. Aparicio  13:59

little bit of a duping at the at the at the behest of John Angela. So leading into playoff tickets and all that. But we don’t have a deal, dude. It’s December when there’s no deal. So Kelso was going to come back on and I said to Tom, I said, Look, we’ve done this and that in my questions. Let me sit back a little bit. And let’s make a case for the public called stadiums for dummies. Because I think one of the issues is talking about this in five minutes, snippets and certainly 32nd sound bites on television is not the richness for what we’re talking about a giveaway to these billionaires, for the stadiums that are already there. What’s going to make it better other than winning 102 games or being 10 and three, so it’s gonna make a difference if we give you a billion dollars.

Dan Rodricks  14:45

Yeah $1.2 billion between the Orioles in the rain.

Nestor J. Aparicio  14:48

And each of John gets his way right. Yeah. Angeles gets his way the

Dan Rodricks  14:52

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Ravens have to get their way and he wants to develop and rights and not we had a story in the sun the other day is look like they’re trying to separate A lease agreement from discussions and negotiations over developing land around Camden Yards. So we’ve, you know, the public subsidy of the Orioles going back to 1988 is north of a billion dollars. 1.8 billion I think is what we reported this weekend. We tallied it all up for a

Nestor J. Aparicio  15:19

company that grew from 150 million to 2 billion under our

Dan Rodricks  15:23

watch. Yeah, yeah. No, it’s

Nestor J. Aparicio  15:26

It’s the amount of money the public has given them is basically the same amount of money that the asset has grown. Right.

Dan Rodricks  15:34

No, I get that. Yeah. Believable thought. Yeah. And then I think we all are living in this fear that we’re going to lose them. I know. I’m not I’m not I don’t I don’t buy it seems like a lot of trouble to go through for a team that probably won’t be able to move. Because the commissioner says the Orioles will never leave Baltimore. They’re looking to expand a 32 T

Nestor J. Aparicio  15:54

doesn’t have $600 million waiting for him. It’s a matter of fact, Nashville just went for county money, state money. The city of Nashville. Somebody told me this in the legislature, somebody from the Eastern Shore, said to me, the city of Nashville bonded $800 million for that stadium. The city did that the city bonded $800 million. He said I’ve never heard of a city like That’s unheard of. But they have a different purpose for that football team in that stadium there because it’s Nashville. It’s they’re trying to compete with Vegas. So having Taylor Swift hang out there for 12 days having and there the country music. We’re gonna use that stadium for concerts

Dan Rodricks  16:34

and baseball. Right. But on baseball, you don’t see them moving there. Well,

Nestor J. Aparicio  16:37

my point is they’ve already gone to the left. They’re tapped out. The stadium down. Yeah. John boy wants to move down there. Your John, here’s your double A stadium with 12,000 seats. Good luck with that. You put all of your family’s money into building the stadium, as opposed to leaving something that’s built, we’re giving you $600 million,

Dan Rodricks  16:55

like MLB has stated that they’re interested in expanding the 32 teams. So if you’re gonna have an expansion, why would you let a team leave Baltimore?

Nestor J. Aparicio  17:03

Why I was here 20 years ago with I had Jesse The Body Ventura when he was the governing body of Minnesota, where they’re not going to contract My Minnesota Twins. Like so I remember when they were trying to downsize? Yeah, the baseball. Yeah. And then there’s the part where the team’s good. And the teams relevant again, right. You’re watching I’m watching people that five years ago, we were sitting together we wouldn’t be talking about we watched the Orioles this summer where they lost 120 games. There is something about the Mojo it has for the community. Yeah, and what we invest in sports, and how much is enough, and how much is too much and how much is gluttony and how much is just fat greed. And in this case, the notion that we could give the Angelo’s family the land, and then they could sell the team and just keep it squat on the land right is the biggest Flim Flam. there’s ever been Flim Flam.

Dan Rodricks  17:53

I don’t know why you don’t want the stadium authority develop it when

Nestor J. Aparicio  17:56

you’re trying to close the stadium with all the hard Kelso

Dan Rodricks  17:59

says. I mean, he’s probably right. He can’t take authority out of the stadium authority. So anyway, yeah.

Nestor J. Aparicio  18:06

So you’re not on Team Angelo’s in this routine. You’re on Team Baltimore.

Dan Rodricks  18:09

Yeah, I don’t want to you know, I’d like to see the Orioles succeed. But I have a lot of questions about what’s going on here. Do you really

Nestor J. Aparicio  18:17

go to Annapolis and say this? This is it. We’re no, we’re not giving you this money and pound Sam. Why wouldn’t they say that? Music colts left 40 years ago? Yeah,

Dan Rodricks  18:27

I don’t think I think we’d go into a lot of trouble and expense for something that’s not going to happen out of a worry that something might happen. I don’t the governor, I don’t know. The the way everybody sort of jumps on board here there. Although there are skeptics Bill Ferguson, you know, saying I want to see a stadium deal. The State Senator. That’s all good. The Senate president that’s good. I want to

Nestor J. Aparicio  18:47

see a plan if we’re gonna get by $400 million more in the land. Give me a plan. And

8

Dan Rodricks  18:51

I see the governor doing this big whip up at the stadium with John Angelo’s making it look like there’s a stadium lease when it really isn’t. There is a memorandum of understanding the next day it comes out or when I see him standing with David Bramble from day one in support of the harborplace plan, along with the mayor. So we may you know, maybe you should keep a little bit of a distance here. You know, Larry Hogan, the former governor, Mr. Businessman, right. Give me a little bit of a distance here and just you know, look this over before you jump on board that’s what I would like to see from the official leadership of the city well,

Nestor J. Aparicio  19:32

that’s what I’m doing and that’s what you’re doing as residents as taxpayers as journalists Yeah.

Dan Rodricks  19:36

As asking questions Yeah,

Nestor J. Aparicio  19:38

yeah, I’ll get on board if I love it sold me on it. Your salesman told me right and that’s what I’m gonna say to the governor whom I like who I voted for lives in his district. Oh, dead Ramos will be here later on. We’re gonna talk how are you? How are you on him? I mean, it’s report cards for governors 10 months in I don’t you know, it’s like report card for Brandon Scott’s report cards gonna come next year when Sheila Dixon beats him in the in the primary right well A report card. Can you think Sheila

Dan Rodricks  20:01

Dixon is going to be Brandon sky? I don’t know. You have no idea. I knew I did a show. Yeah, I don’t I don’t know that’s going to happen. I don’t know. The mayor has done some good things. Things are. There’s some some points in the city that people have been crying about. For years, all of us have been upset about the rate of crime and violence here that finally seems to be turning a corner maybe? I don’t know. I hope so. That’s going to help them there.

Nestor J. Aparicio  20:31

We’re all looking for answers on that turn away. I mean, whatever we’re talking about at the harbor, wherever we’re talking about the baseball team, you gotta

Dan Rodricks  20:36

have public safety. People got to feel safe about coming downtown. Again, you still hear that from people that they don’t feel safe down there. But remember, harborplace is not what it was, you know, the management of that ran that place for the last 1015 years. It was awful. Right? It was awful. And that place was just allowed to deteriorate. So people

Nestor J. Aparicio  20:56

don’t like the baseball team at various points. Yeah. But honestly, you know, and they’re building that back, right? Yeah, yes,

21:03

yes.

Nestor J. Aparicio  21:04

Well, all right. Baltimore, you have no idea to show it’s here at the BMA. I will be having some beverages before and after here at gertrudes we’re gonna have the crabcakes all brought to you by our friends at the Maryland lottery I have the they are scented. They’re not sniffers honest as the Oh snaps were given these way out here. Our friends are window nation as well. 866 90 nation and Jiffy Lube multi care tickets for your Valentine’s week show for the Baltimore dockets second play second play not on sale yet, right? Yeah,

Dan Rodricks  21:34

they’re on sale. Yeah, yeah, same website. You have no idea.org Yeah, you can buy tickets for the February show. Oh, I’m

Nestor J. Aparicio  21:40

late to the party.

Dan Rodricks  21:41

Tonight it’s not until February. Well, here’s

Nestor J. Aparicio  21:44

your problem that the ravens are gonna win the Super Bowl on February I’ve taken that account. You know, there’s a parade you’ve done all that. You believe that the parade of believers we’re

Dan Rodricks  21:53

not we’re not going to be in conflict with the or over the Raven. Okay. Or I charted that believer

Nestor J. Aparicio  22:00

you plan this around? Yeah, the Ravens winning the Superbowl?

Dan Rodricks  22:04

Yeah, Patrick Ricard is going to score the winning touchdown.

Nestor J. Aparicio  22:08

He’s got it. There’s got to be a new Dan Rodgers is here. He’ll be telling stories about Rhode Island as I remember in the story, and yes,

Dan Rodricks  22:17

yeah. And yeah, I grew up in the south shore of Massachusetts right near the Rhode Island line.

Nestor J. Aparicio  22:22

If you come here the whole story he tells you to Baltimore, you have no idea. Dan, Roger to my friend, my mentor. Thank you my fishing coach. 10 o’clock. Two o’clock. Is that good? That’s good. Hold on a second here. In fact, if I had the cord, but I have a gift for you. Let me get off set to people talk to people Dan. All right. Have something something in my bed for Dan. I have something in my bag for Dan. Oh, here it is right here. He can’t tell anybody what it is and hold it up for the camera. Let me know what that is. Oh, my God. What is that?

Dan Rodricks  22:52

It’s a VHS edition of sex, drugs and rock and roll with Eric Bogosian who’s the guy kind of inspired me to do a one man show with a cast of seven.

Nestor J. Aparicio  23:02

Wow. So I want to read this on here. But Gozi has a hilarious wit on a spare stage in front of a live audience very similar to ballroom you have no idea Arabic goes he talk radio brings to life 10 astonishingly vivid, male characters in their own self contained single character mind dramas, ranging from a smug English Rockstar to an unrepentant killer from a bullying shark of an entertainment lawyer to a millionaire New Jersey suburbanite in love with his swimming pool, right? He actually did a whole thing on that character called griller. Right? Right. Okay, because he has vivid vividly interesting personalities all revel in or suffer the effects of WoW, sex, drugs and rock and roll that is

Dan Rodricks  23:48

great that you found that thank you very much. I get it. I even have a VHS player still at home somewhere

Nestor J. Aparicio  23:53

because he in his artist assortment of incarnations in this brutally funny uniquely original tour. He the dark side, he was so frigging he

Dan Rodricks  24:02

was very good. He did these characters voices just transmit his goal from Rogers. Thank you very much. This is very thoughtful of you. All right, thank you. Yeah,

Nestor J. Aparicio  24:12

I was gonna make like a joke about springtime, you know, like the what was it was the place but the producers I was taking time for his word. Yeah, I was gonna say yeah, you know, it’s like his play Baltimore. You have no idea what sex drugs and rock and roll I’m thinking like, who goes to sees a play called Sex, drugs and rock’n’roll? I saw

Dan Rodricks  24:30

a theater. I saw him to Senator stay center stage

Nestor J. Aparicio  24:32

right. block away from the sun. Yeah, I parked there. Yeah. Can Rodricks we are at Gertrude to the BMA. We’re back for more Odette Ramos our fantastic Council woman’s gonna come by. We’re going to talk about of all things community and vegan crabcakes stay with us.

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