• A recent event in Baltimore brought together thought leaders on the city's renaissance.
  • Commercial real estate developments were the focus.
  • Myths that were busted included the idea that Baltimore is a hard sell to out-of-towners.

Business publication and conference host Biznow recently put on an event to discuss the state of the commercial real estate market in Baltimore. It was held, appropriately at the Warehouse at Camden Yards, an example of the vitality of the area.

Influencers in commercial real estate, retail and entertainment spoke at the morning gathering. The state of the Baltimore market, the business climate, local economic growth, and key trends and issues on the horizon were tackled.

The commercial experts sought to debunk what the publication calls “four real estate myths driving many deals today.”

And here are those myths, along with the proof points that they are fallacy:

A laser-like focus on millennials only

Millennials, while a significant demographic and coming into their own in the world of business, are not the be-all and end-all.

In fact, panelist and Continental Realty Corp CEO JM Schapiro said that the focus on this demographic was “way overrated.” He pointed out that the Baby Boom generation still has the greatest spending power. And they are willing and skilled in using it.

Online shopping has killed brick-and-mortar retail

Retailers are embracing the world offline with a vengeance.

Online eyeglass store Warby Parker will open its literal doors in Harbor East this spring. Places that people need to visit in real life – gyms and yoga studios, restaurants and big-box retail are pulling in customers.

WorkShop Development principal Doug Schmidt said at the event that stores like BJ’s Wholesale Club and Target were lured to Canton to serve the growing number of families who are staying in the city.

Schapiro was reported to add that several expanding Maryland restaurant groups that are driving people to shopping centers: Nalley Fresh, Mission BBQ and all-day breakfast spot Iron Rooster.

Baltimore isn’t a place that people chose to relocate to

Sagamore Ventures managing partner Demian Costa added that while it might not be the easiest sell, half the companies in Port Covington’s startup incubator City Garage are from outside the area. Minds and hearts are won over by lauding Baltimore’s cultural institutions and world-class universities.

But, it’s not only about universities and hospitals

The University of Maryland, Baltimore is responsible for a steady hum of activity in the area, with a mixed-use apartment building and $305 million health sciences facility under construction.

But Camden Yards, in South Baltimore, is seeing reinvigorated economic activity with the baseball park and casino. Camden Yards also boasts a warehouse with more than 90 percent occupancy. The opening of Horseshoe Casino Baltimore in 2014 resulted in more nightlife options popping up in the area, and plans for more to come.

The lure of Baltimore is very real, and a panel discussion such as this one goes to show that there’s a team effort banking on the city’s continued renaissance.

Email Kimberley Sirk.

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