National studies (from the National Endowment from the Arts, Americans for the Arts, Art Place and the Mellon Foundation) demonstrate the positive effect that anchor arts institutions in the United States have on revitalizing communities.   With the proper leadership and investments, the Lord Baltimore Theater can deliver positive outcomes for residents and visitors alike, similar to the functioning Lord Baltimore Theater in the early to mid-1900s (pictured to the right). From 1913-1970 the Lord Baltimore Theater served as one of the largest movie houses in the United States with 1,000 seats. In 1970 it was converted to a church and has been vacant since 1973 when the congregation relocated.

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Project Overview

The Lord Baltimore Theater is a 14,000 square foot historic theater located at 1110 West Baltimore Street, located one block from the University of Maryland Biopark campus, one block from the redeveloped Hollins Market, and a few blocks away from the renovated Grace Medical Center and the new Factory Building that the West Baltimore Renaissance Foundation is opening on West Baltimore Street.

In 2019, through $1.5M in funds from the Maryland Department of Housing & Community Development and the Baltimore Development Corporation, Southwest Partnership stabilized the property, including roof repair and interior demolition. With the assistance of TwoPoint Studios, we facilitated a series of charrettes to re-envision the property as a state-of-the-art educational, entertainment, and arts center with professional dance as its core program.

Community Engagement & Vision 

In 2019 and 2020, Southwest Partnership hosted a series of community meetings to capture the vision for the project. Through those meetings community members identified a range of potential uses for the building and focused on the positive impact the Lord Baltimore Theater as an arts and culture community hub and destination would have on the community. As a result of these community meetings, we have been working towards the development of a dance incubator and performance space at the site of the Theater. However, given the realities of the current funding landscape, the SWP is also actively seeking development partners who can work with us on revitalizing the Theater so that it again becomes an active part of the W Baltimore St and advances the community’s goals for the Theater and surrounding community.

The Building

The current building, which is 14,000 square feet, will be expanded to 30,000 square feet, while retaining the historic features of the theater. Total estimated costs to build out this vision is $14M. In addition to the $1M+ awarded by the State of Maryland, Baltimore Development Corporation, Maryland State Arts Council, and friends of Southwest Partnership have made investments to this project.

Rendering of a future Lord Baltimore Theater created by Two Point Architecture studio.

Next Steps

SWP has released an Expression of Interest (EOI) for development and programming partners interested in working in partnership with us on the development of the Lord Baltimore Theater building. The full EOI can be found HERE. Submissions are due May 1st.

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