Replacing 1st Mariner

It’s out with the old and in with the new as Baltimore officials seek development teams interested in building a new entertainment venue to replace the 45-year-old 1st Mariner Arena.

Developers interested in financing, designing and constructing a new arena have until October 30th to submit proposals for a 15,000- to 16,000-seat arena with 10 to 20 suites and 1,000 to 2,000 club seats. A developer is expected to be chosen early next year.

The Baltimore Development Corp. is requesting that developers include "vibrant retail or other activity to enhance the street-level experience even when the arena does not have an event," according to the Baltimore Sun.

The idea of repairing and upgrading the 13,300-capacity, SMG-operated 1st Mariner, which was last renovated more than 20 years ago, was rejected by a recent study by the Maryland Stadium Authority that found the cost would be nearly $60 million. Demolishing the city-owned venue and building a larger, more modern arena, either on the site or elsewhere, was suggested to keep Baltimore competitive.

If the arena is built in another location, officials have specified that the site must be at least four acres, near public transportation and able to blend into the surrounding neighborhood.

If developers build at the current site they must stipulate how they would manage the scheduled sports and entertainment programming during construction and demolition, according to the Sun.

The cost of the arena is estimated at $162 million, which the BDC hopes will be subsidized mostly by the private sector.