Midtown working to revive old Barnes & Noble location

Maybe this is a good idea? Midtown Community Benefits District (AKA tax-supported Midtown Baltimore) is partnering with the owners of Fitzgerald Apartments and an arts consultant for a 12-month pop-up use of the long-empty former Barnes & Noble bookstore that served the University of Baltimore and the neighborhood.

The building is part of the Bozzuto real estate empire. The deal is being managed by MCB Real Estate, the company that is building a major housing and retail development on Bolton Hill’s North Avenue boundary. With more controversy, MCB is also the mayor’s favored contractor for the Inner Harbor Redevelopment. The third partner is Stacy Handler, whose company does fundraising and project management for arts organizations.

Here’s the deal: “Midtown Baltimore invites proposals from Baltimore’s creative community to activate the Fitzgerald from Sept. 1, 2024, to Aug. 31, 2025. We are seeking proposals that serve one of two (or both) goals:

  • Utilize the space for rehearsals, performances or related programming
  • Engage the community in creative activities, commerce and programming

RFP Release Date: June 3. Virtual Info Session: June 24. In-person site visit: June 25. Submission Deadline: July 15. Programming to begin in Sept. 2024.

A selection committee will review submissions and select the most compelling proposal. The committee will include Baltimore-based artists Gaia and Liz Miller, as well as representatives from MCB Real Estate, Midtown Baltimore, Bloom Arts Strategy and Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts. Bloom Arts Strategy, Midtown’s partner, will oversee the management of proposed activities and engagements.”