On March 27, the state Court of Appeals dismissed a lower court’s ruling that upended all-important state contracts with the developer of the $1.5 billion redevelopment of State Center, a potential economic boon for the West Baltimore community surrounding it.
The State Center Project had languished for years due mainly to a lawsuit (funded partly by Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos) by the development’s opponents for alleged procurement law violations.
The developers of the project, Ekistics LLC, can now move forward with the re-development of the area that could bring thousands of jobs to several impoverished West Baltimore neighborhoods.
“The decision rendered by the Court of Special Appeals in terms of State Center as it relates to West Baltimore development is almost analogous to the decision rendered in Brown v. Board to open up opportunity back in 1954-55,” said Rev. Alvin Hathaway, pastor of Union Baptist Church, which is in the West Baltimore community that could be most positively impacted by the State Center Project moving forward.
Hathaway, whose church is a member of the Community Churches for Community Development organization, has worked actively for about a decade to have significant input on the full scope – particularly as it relates to West Baltimore residents being hired for permanent jobs – of the State Center Project.
“This now opens up economic opportunities for us, it creates for us an economic synergy and now we’ll have a community that’s integrated in a sense that now we’re in relationship with Heritage Crossing, Seton, Mt. Royal, Bolton Hill,” Hathaway explained. “The other part that’s so important is that the job opportunities will be focused upon those residents…This is going to be a tremendous opportunity,” he added.