Mariner Replacements Floated

Baltimore officials are considering plans to replace the city’s 45-year-old 1st Mariner Arena, following a study commissioned earlier this year that found a modern venue is needed to continue to draw top shows and sports teams.

Seven groups have responded to the Baltimore Development Corp. panel’s request for proposals, which reportedly seeks plans for a 15,000- to 16,000-seat arena with 1,000 to 2,000 club seats and 10 to 20 suites.

"We need a new arena today," J. Kirby Fowler Jr., president of Downtown Partnership, told the Baltimore Sun. "In order for us to compete with other great cities, we need to have an arena that mirrors our ambitions."

Proposals have been submitted by local and national developers, including one group comprising Pinnacle Properties & Development, Garfield Traub Development and AEG.

While some plans would leave the arena in its current location, others suggest moving it elsewhere in the city, the Sun reported, as a part of revival efforts, other sports and entertainment complexes or mixed-use facilities.

But if the venue is razed and rebuilt on its current site, it would leave the city’s Baltimore Blast indoor soccer team without a home during the construction process.

Blast owner Edwin Hale Sr. told the paper the team and many events would be without a venue in the meantime.

"There is literally no place around here to go," Hale said. "We would just be damaged."

Many of the plans call for a larger arena – in the 17,000- to 19,000-seat range – that would open the facility to the possibility of hosting a major league team, the Sun said.

The BDC is set to select a plan by next year, and both public and private funds will reportedly be used to finance the $200 million project.