By: Jonathan Munshaw
Developers on Thursday offered the first peek at the new Hammerjacks, a reincarnation of Baltimore's iconic rock club, and announced a delay in the opening date and expanded plans for retail and a beer garden.
Hammerjacks will include concert space, which can hold up to 2,500 people, an outdoor beer garden and an indoor bar with space for 300 people. The developer, Kevin Butler, is also plotting to have 2,500 square feet of retail space along Ostend Street located on the first floor of the two-story building. Butler said he has already received interest in the retail space from a variety of tenants, including craft breweries, restaurants and sportswear retailers.
The venue will be located at 1300 Russell Street, near Horseshoe Casino Baltimore and M&T Bank Stadium.
"We believe this is going to return a world-class venue to Baltimore," Butler said.
Butler and the Design Collective, the architects of the project, showed off plans to the city's Urban Design and Architecture Review Panel on Thursday.
On days where Hammerjacks is hosting a concert, attendees will be able to park in the N and NN parking lots at M&T Bank Stadium, which is located across the street. Butler has worked out an agreement to use a portion of the lots with the Maryland Stadium Authority, which operates the lots.
In order to build out the space, developers will renovate the existing warehouse at 1300 Russell Street, but is demolishing two buildings at 1310 and 1320 Russell Street, which used to be home to the Paradox nightclub. The Paradox closed last year.
Butler said demolition on those buildings will begin later this month, and renovations on the other building can begin once designs are approved by the city.
The concert venue is on schedule to open in late 2017 with construction beginning earlier in the year. Butler had initially hoped he would break ground this fall and be open earlier in 2017.
The venue is situated along a dead-end portion of Russell Street that runs underneath the overpass — which is also Russell Street. Matt Herbert, a partner at the Design Collective, said during the presentation that portion of Russell Street would likely be used as a drop-off location for taxis, Ubers and limos.
However, several panelists were concerned that the area would become too crowded if a concert is at capacity and over 2,000 people are lined up outside the venue.
"I wish there was a sense of arrival and place and drop-off," UDARP panelist Gary Bowden said.
Herbert and Butler both said there have been ongoing discussions with the city to improve that small stretch of Russell Street, and make a turn-around area larger. Butler added that he would like to work with the city to make improvements to crosswalks that connect the two stadium parking lots to Hammerjacks across Ostend Street.
Panelist David Haresign agreed that developers should take a closer look at their surroundings in their design and consider how portions of Russell and Ostend streets could be improved and made safer for visitors.
"Think big, think long-term. Don’t be bashful now, think big," he said.
UDARP gave schematic approval to the $10 million project, but designers will need to return for additional presentations.
Hammerjacks became renowned as a rock club in the 1980s and 1990s on Howard Street before it was torn down to make way for M&T Bank Stadium. After Hammerjacks closed its Howard Street location, it was reopened in 2001 on Guilford Avenue where it remained until 2006.
Butler purchased the rights to the Hammerjacks name in 2009. He had originally planned to open the venue at 601 W. West St., currently Lot N, near the Ravens stadium, before deciding to go with the current location.
The building is located near Caves Valley Partners' mixed-use Stadium Square development, which will bring apartments, office space, retail and entertainment options to the area near the Ravens stadium.
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