Friday, January 8, 2016
H&S Bakery: The Final Piece of the Puzzle
The early to mid 2000s provided a boom for mixed use development in Inner Harbor East. Inner Harbor East is a new glitzy waterfront neighborhood built on industrial wasteland and long closed shipping channels. Before the buildings were constructed, the once industrial waterfront properties were turned into surface parking lots for the already redeveloped parts of the Inner Harbor. Inner Harbor East may appear to be finished seeing as Harbor Point, between Inner Harbor East and Fells Point has begun construction but there's still one piece of the puzzle left for Inner Harbor East; H&S Bakery.
H&S Bakery isn't just the final piece of industry in the middle of the gentrified neighborhoods of Inner Harbor East, Fells Point, and Little Italy. It holds a special place in the hearts and minds of those who designed and developed Inner Harbor East. In fact, had it not been for H&S Bakery, Inner Harbor East may not have come to fruition as we know it today.
While other industries in what is now Inner Harbor East either went belly up, move to the suburbs or out of Country, H&S remained in place as it enjoyed the prestigious status of baking rolls and buns for McDonalds Restaurants as well as a long list of other clients. The owner of H&S Bakery, John Paterakis did quite well for himself financially running a super successful industrial sized Bakery that like many successful Businessmen, he chose to invest his profits.
Unlike them chose an investment whose returns wouldn't generate any returns for a long time. Even then it wasn't a sure thing. The year was 1984 and the success of Harbor Place was proving to be a big boost for the area. The notion that if you had waterfront property, you were sitting on a huge payday was just beginning to gain traction. That early in the game there wasn't much development on the waterfront that wasn't industrial wasteland. Paterakis had the vision that one day the land surrounding his plant would be very valuable and that glitzy high end mixed use waterfront would be in demand. So he bought up the land that would one day become Inner Harbor East.
Critics thought that Paterakis had lost his mind. They either thought that he would lose his shirt or that any returns on his investment would be years if not decades into the future. Petarakis however, was in this for the long haul. As new developments began popping up around the Harbor and gentrification overtook nearby neighborhoods such as Fells Point, Canton and Federal Hill, the time had come to start planning and constructing on Paterakis's land.
It showed that there was an intense need for high Apartments, Condos, Retail, Office Space, and Hotels around the Harbor, more so than what was already there. With that value piece of information, building began and high end Retail such as Whole Foods flocked to the area as did Hotels and Residences such as the Four Seasons and the offices of Legg Mason relocated its headquarters to Inner Harbor East from Pratt St. The moving of Legg Mason from Pratt St to Inner Harbor East is just part of a trend of Downtown Offices moving closer to the Harbor.
The collapsing of the economy and therefore the Real Estate Market across the Country actually had a minimal effect on Inner Harbor East. Sure some Retail leases fell through and the Residential part of the new Four Seasons is only now being built while the Hotel portion was completed years ago but considering all of the development plans throughout the region that were delayed, greatly modified, or scrapped all together, Inner Harbor East remained relatively stable.
Now here we are in 2016. To the naked eye it may appear that Inner Harbor East has been completed. In fact, Harbor Point has begun construction which may be a signal that this is in fact the case. However, there's still one piece of the puzzle left; HS Bakery.
Although H&S Bakery watched the downfall of industry around the Harbor and was the lone standout when the area was all but vacant and has initially stuck around as the glitzy sky scrapers went up and the row houses were gentrified, wasn't supposed to stick around forever. In fact, a new site has been purchased in Hollander Ridge east of Armistead Gardens that will be the new home of H&S Bakery.
With H&S Bakery in Hollander Ridge, all of the sudden six City blocks will now become vacant. Given that H&S's buildings aren't glitzy mixed use high rises or gentrified historic row homes, it's quite obvious that these buildings will be torn down. There's a 7th out of place city block in the midst of Inner Harbor Harbor East that's a surface lot where plans to a large sky scraper have surfaced. Anchoring this new building will be a new larger Whole Foods given that the current one has out grown that location. There are no plans for what will go in place of H&S Bakery once torn down.
With the construction of Harbor Point commencing and almost all blocks of Inner Harbor East developed, one would that think that Inner Harbor East would already be complete. As it turns out, H&S Bakery will vacate its longtime head quarters showing that there is still a final piece of the puzzle left in Inner Harbor East. It's a mighty big piece at that.