About Charles Center
The Charles Center is a large-scale urban redevelopment project in central Baltimore of the 1960s. Beginning 1954, a group called the Committee for Downtown promoted a master plan for arresting the commercial decline of central Baltimore. In 1955 the Greater Baltimore Committee, headed by banker and developer James W. Rouse, joined the effort. A plan was developed by David A. Wallace which formed the basis of a $25 million bond issue in 1958. The plan was unusual for its time in not pursuing a "clean-slate" site, but rather incorporating existing structures. The 33 acres (13 ha) site includes three public plazas designed by RTKL, connected by walkways and pedestrian bridges. The plazas cover underground parking. In the late 1970s Rouse's Inner Harbor project extended the redevelopment southward to Baltimore Harbor. The Charles Center public areas are presently undergoing extensive renovations to arrest a period of decline induced by newer developments, including those at the Inner Harbor.