A nearly 3,800-seat concert venue, under a construction pause in South Baltimore’s entertainment district, is expected to open next year in spite of a legal and financial dispute advancing through Baltimore City Circuit Court, according to the developer overseeing revitalization work in that area.
Arthur Adler, partner at Caves Valley Partners — which won the bid about a decade ago along with Caesars Entertainment to redevelop what they’ve renamed as The Walk @ Warner Street — said Monday that the music and events facility known as The Paramount Baltimore will “hopefully” open its doors in early-to-mid 2024. It’s an important piece of the entertainment district puzzle, Adler said, and follows a trend of other music venues opening near area casinos.
“Baltimore didn’t have one [music venue] of this size with a flat floor. We think it fills a niche,” Adler told a crowd gathered at the Baltimore Convention Center for a lecture series sponsored by the Greater Baltimore Committee. “Very much like The Anthem in D.C., the Fillmore in Philadelphia.”
Adler did not respond to questions, however, about the ongoing legal drama surrounding The Paramount, which originally had been expected to open in the summer or fall of 2023. Court records show that construction ceased months ago on The Paramount due to its funding falling through, according to several contractors who say they haven’t been paid. A series of court hearings, originally set to be heard Tuesday, have been pushed back to November, according to online court records.
In court filings, attorneys for Clark Construction, the general contractor on the project, said The Paramount informed them last year that a financing loan had been sold to another lender and was later terminated. An expected new loan didn’t materialize, and as of July, Clark claims in court papers, The Paramount said it had found another financier who wanted additional partners before it signed on.
“Despite repeated demands by Clark, to date Paramount has failed to provide evidence that it has obtained sufficient funds ... or that sufficient funding for the project exists,” Clark wrote Aug. 14 in requesting a lien for payment of about $3.69 million plus interest for unpaid work. Clark said payments over the past year from The Paramount had been issued late, and haven’t been issued at all since March.
Two other subcontractors, Telligent Masonry and Alliance Exterior Construction, in separate cases say they’re owed about $320,000 and $220,600, respectively, for their work. And a steel contractor filed a claim against The Paramount and Clark, saying they are owed about $302,000.
In a joint statement issued last month by Clark Construction and The Paramount, the company and developer said they are “working collaboratively to restart the project after a pause in construction.” The project is about 60% completed, and Clark has not yet withdrawn from the property, according to the statement.
“Clark and Paramount are optimistic that the project will get back on track and become a successful destination concert venue,” the statement said. “A mechanic’s lien action is simply a procedure that has to be taken at this time to prevent Clark and its subcontractors from waiving lien rights.”
But it is not known whether construction has since resumed on the venue or if the company has secured financing. A representative for Clark Construction did not immediately respond to a request for comment, nor did an attorney representing The Paramount.
The planned 70,000-square-foot venue sits in the shadow of M&T Bank Stadium and along a road to the Horseshoe Casino that also includes Topgolf’s Baltimore location. Paramount’s director, Robert Goldstein, who owns the production company Maryland Sound International, has said previously it would have 135 to 150 shows a year, with a goal of as many as 225 shows, and would remain open on off-nights as a restaurant and bar.
There are further plans to add retail adjacent to the venue, as well as a hotel, Adler said Monday.
The entertainment district is meant to jumpstart a holistic transformation in South Baltimore dreamed up by Caesars when it proposed building the casino, which opened in 2014. The area surrounding the football stadium, still mostly industrial and long considered by state and city officials to be underdeveloped, would be a host to gaming and entertainment facilities, which would help expand the regional tax base and pump more visitors and businesses into downtown.
Eventually, city officials hope to build a cohesive, walkable district from the South Baltimore entertainment district that links to the Inner Harbor and as far away as Lexington Market.
“They really wanted to have a kind of seamless connection,” Adler said Monday about the original bid solicitation. “Obviously, you have great stadiums, you have a great convention center. The gap was kind of between M&T Bank Stadium and the casino.”
Adler said Caves Valley Partners has since acquired all the properties along Warner Street with the exception of a public storage facility. In addition to Topgolf, which opened last year, and the 200-room hotel planned for the site, the group has plans for an additional “entertainment concept” at a building across the street from The Paramount.
The group also plans to expand the sidewalks in the district, add more lighting and security presence, and ultimately create a more accessible pedestrian crossing where a busy rail line intersects Warner Street. Adler said a “committee” convened by P. David Bramble, managing partner at MCB Real Estate who is overseeing the revitalization of Harborplace, is working jointly on creating a cohesive downtown area that is friendlier to pedestrians.