BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Baltimore's waterfront is living it up, while Buffalo's lingers in limbo. So how come other cities can make a success of these prime pieces of property?
News 4 went to "America's Comeback City" to check it out.
"This was still all industrial pier," said Downtown Partnership of Baltimore's Mike Evitz.
From the 1970's, to today.
"It was just bare land," said President & CEO of Maryland Science Center Van Reiner.
Baltimore's Inner Harbor has a whole new look. It's no bigger in size than Buffalo's Inner Harbor and Erie Basin Marina, but more than a hundred shops and restaurants have sprouted up here in the past 30 years.
"It wasn't any one thing. It was the Science Center, then it was Harbor Place, the constellation, the historic ship in the water, the Aquarium, the Convention Center. It was a whole planned set of activities," said Baltimore Waterfront Partnership's Laurie Schwartz.
"The promenade that we're standing on is a public park, so the closest the businesses can be is 50 to 100 feet from the water itself," said Reiner.
M&T Bank and other downtown businesses are within easy walking distance, and more and more housing is going up.
Evitz said, "We have 40,000 residents living within a mile radius of where we're standing, and those are people who need the waterfront and use it 24 hours a day, seven days a week."
Now Baltimore does have a larger population than Buffalo and better weather, but not every day is 80 degrees and sunny.
"Well, last year we had more snow than Buffalo and Syracuse," said Schwartz.
Laurie Schwartz grew up in Tonawanda and went to UB. Mike Evitz used to work at a cafe on Chippewa, and before he ran the Maryland Science Center, Reiner used to work in the coke ovens at Lackawanna's Bethlehem Steel.
Reiner said, "It's too bad we can't make steel there anymore."
Times change, and what these players in Baltimore's waterfront see as one key to their success was planning by a public private partnership, like Buffalo's Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation.
"And to me that is key, because everybody is rowing the boat in the same direction," Reiner explained.
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