Mr. Wrong By Joe MacLeod

Mr. Wrong: Everybody Please Make Dollars, It's Business Never Personal

City Paper

I am very Pro-Development here in My Baltimore, in terms of how I support the Idea that the Business of America is Business, and The Business of Business is Business, so when I see some bullshit Business News I feel compelled to Comment about it, and please to remember, it’s nothing Personal, it’s just Business, OK? Let’s get down to Business!

The other day on the tweets of The Baltimore Business Journal (which is all about the Business, I mean “Business” is its Middle Name, right?) I saw this thing about how on its Website there was an article about some big-pants Developer, this Cordish guy or Company or whatever, how Cordish wants to maybe build a 15,000-seat sports box on the Inner Harbor, and I think this is a crappy idea, to build it right there. Build it someplace else, seriously.

First of all, this fucking Inner Harbor stuff is making me crazy. I enjoy Inner Harbor, I do stuff there, but we got a whole fucking City to build shit on, and all anybody wants to do is build shit on the spot where they been building stuff for years! There’s spots a few blocks away from this goddamn Inner Harbor where there’s Nothing! Empty buildings! But all anybody wants to do is build right on this stupid Inner Harbor, they put the Football Stadium on top of the Baseball Stadium and then they put the Casino on top of the Football Stadium, and I remember stuff about how people wanted to have the fucking Horse Racing, from Pimlico, move down to the Inner Harbor, and don’t forget the Grand Prix stuff that was going on, all up in the Inner Harbor, how much stuff do we need in the Inner Harbor? We got all this stuff! Put some stuff someplace else! How many fucking skyscrapers need to be right next to the goddamn water? Go build one someplace else! That would be an Improvement!

And look, I totally want a Professional Basketball Team in Baltimore man, it’s unfuckingbelievable this city does not haz NBA, seriously, but it’s enough with this Inner Harbor! Don’t tell me Baltimore won’t get a Basketball Team if there’s no new Arena built right on the goddamn water-piers! Fine, go ahead and fix the music Pavilion that’s there, but don’t tell me we need 15,000 seats for asses in the Inner Harbor! Let’s sit someplace else! The Inner Harbor does not need to be Developed any more! It’s Fully Grown! Find another place! Think Bigger! Improve the Whole City, not just the sweet spot where we are already Developed!

Then, on the other side of this, the micro side, like with the Housing Stock of the City, we had that “Dollar Houses” thing, and then we got that “Project 5000” or whatever, and now it’s “Vacants to Value,” and I heard there’s about 16,000 empty houses or something crazy like that in Our City, anyway, a lotta houses, and many of the houses, they are in Depressed Neighborhoods, where you might end up with a cold empty shell on either side of your house, so as a human being, just a person or family, you are setting yourself up for a lot of aggravation to come in to a Depressed Neighborhood to pump Value into your newly acquired Vacant, but what we need is some Big Picture Development stuff with those, the kinda flex that these Cordish types have, but with some Next-Level thought! All I hear about is like: “Hey, let’s sell houses to people for a dollar or loan ’em a few bucks and then they can fix ’em up, but only if they live in ’em.” That’s a fucking structure for very slow and uncertain Improvement, and here’s why: You buy a fixer-upper, but you are not a Developer, you are just a person who mighta got the Time-Life Home Improvement encyclopedia or something, so you’re thinking you go in, fix a coupla things, but it’s never like that, there’s something really fucked up with the electricity, or there’s a thing with the sewer hookup, or there’s a Rat Amusement Park under your foundation, which, also, is crumbling and you gotta deal with that, and then some boob next door is fixing up their crumbling shell and it collapses, and then your wall falls out, and then most of the time, you will head for the hills, and you will attempt to recoup your Investment and sell your Fixer-Upper to somebody who knows better about the Fixing and the Upping, a House Flipper, probably, and then eventually, possibly, the City ends up with an Improved House. If you are a Darwinist of Real Estate, you might say “Well, then it’s a Win for Improving Houses in the City,” but if you are the person who failed at the Fix-Upping, you are in the Loss column, and you might even have gotten to the point where you were like, “fuck this City, I’m moving to The County or Pennsylvania or something.” If you are a hard-core Business person, you might be all like: “Hey man, you failed to get Value into your Vacant, that’s Business,” and Caveat Emptor and stuff, but to me this is an entire Bad System taking advantage of people who thought they might Make a Difference in a neighborhood while getting a deal, and the System is projecting a Benefit from the eventual improvement of the property, but it’s not guaranteed anybody is gonna move forward with the Improvements, you know? If you are a House Flipper, sure, that’s Business, but these Vacant Properties need to be attacked in a Big Picture way, by an Organized group that has the muscle to do it like four or five blocks at a time, and fast. You can’t do it one house at a time like we’ve been doing. Thank you.


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