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If you agree with Reuters '09 assessment of the Mechanic Theatre as the ugliest building in the world, David S. Brown Enterprises founder Howard Brown is doing you a favor. He's filed for a demolition permit to knock the thing down and build 600 apartments and 150k SF of retail.
Howard Brown
Yesterday, Howard told us he gutted the interior of the '60s-era Morris A. Mechanic Theatre at 1 N Charles St three years ago (and the firm did try out designs for a mixed-use apartment/retail development that included it) but has now decided to raze the property. He points out that the Reuters ranking isn't just for Baltimore buildings but every building in the entire world. Once he's got demo approval in hand from the Baltimore City Commission for Historical & Architectural Preservation, Howard can start on the first of a pair of apartment towers.

early rendering of Mechanic Theatre site redevelopment
Here's an early rendering for the project that would have included the theater. Howard says if he's going to build 600 apartments, he's going to do it right, with a fitness center, indoor/outdoor pool, etc. And he's got esteemed DC architect Shalom Baranes working on the design, which Howard will present soon at a meeting with CHAP and which will include three or four levels of parking. What's there now, he tells us, was built in 1960 and includes blocked spaces, meaning one car pulls in and another follows. And if we learned anything from Ferris Bueller, it's never to hand over your keys to a parking attendant.

Morris A. Mechanic Theater, 1 N. Charles St., Baltimore
Here's the theater back in its heyday. Some opine that Downtown has enough apartments in the pipeline for now, but Howard says the current stock is 98% occupied even as residents are starting to move back to the city, so he's fine with the supply/demand equation.
Best Buy, Baltimore, 600 E Pratt St
David S. Brown also owns 600 E Pratt where Filene's Basement closed and Best Buy is vacating soon. Howard expects to finalize a lease with a similar fashion retailer on the Filene's space in 30 days. (Might we suggest a total 180-degree rebranding effort by inventing a store called Arlo's Attic that only sells brand-new mannequins?) He says Best Buy has four or five years left on its lease and has hired a brokerage firm to see if it can sublet the space. He doubts anyone would be willing to put in the capital to subdivide it with that little time left, but a single tenant is possible.