A team has been selected by the Maryland Stadium Authority to study a new Baltimore arena and its relation to other projects.
Baltimore has spent years discussing the possibility of replacing Royal Farms Arena, the venue that opened in 1962 and became the home of the NBA’s Baltimore Bullets the following year. Though regarded as obsolete, Royal Farms Arena has still managed to attract several major acts in recent years and serves as of the city’s main indoor venues.
The decision of whether to replace is once again receiving close consideration. Earlier this week, The Maryland Stadium Authority opted to move forward with a study that will assess a new arena along with other projects, including improvements to the nearby Baltimore Convention Center and a new hotel. Proposals have surfaced in the past to combine all three amenities in one major project, and a team of firms will now study what options are feasible to pursue. More from The Baltimore Sun:
The team includes Ayers Saint Gross, a Baltimore design firm; LMN Architects of Seattle; Clark Construction of Bethesda; Populous, a Kansas City firm that designed Oriole Park at Camden Yards; and Perkins Eastman, a New York-based design firm.
The study is not to exceed $460,000 and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
For years, officials at Visit Baltimore, which oversees the city’s convention business, have called on the city and state to improve the convention center, citing the need to compete with bigger facilities in other cities.
The issue was brought into greater focus by the 2013 decision by organizers of Otakon to move their growing anime convention to a larger center in Washington, D.C., after 2016.
Options to be studied include expanding the convention center as part of a separate project, or pursuing a hybrid option that would combine the convention center with the arena and/or hotel. This will account for phase one of the study. Officials could opt to undertake a second round of analysis after this report is complete.
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