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UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD is installed as the new Downtown Partnership chair

"Jay Perman is a unique mixture of gentility, strength, and vision." And with those generous words, Downtown Partnership of Baltimore (DPOB) President Kirby Fowler introduced the group's new chair to the applause of a crowd of several hundred at the DPOB's annual meeting. The Downtown Partnership is a non-profit corporation that seeks to create a vibrant community for businesses, property owners, residents, employees, and visitors. Its board of directors includes more than 50 leaders from the city's most significant commercial, government, and non-profit institutions.

University of Maryland, Baltimore President Jay A. Perman, MD, reminded the group that his stake in the vitality of Baltimore's downtown area goes beyond his leadership of the area's largest employer. "I live here. I live in downtown Baltimore," Perman said, before touting the University's most recent accomplishments.

"We have 470,000 square feet of space at the (University of Maryland) BioPark and it's now 96 percent leased," Perman said, including the $200 million Proton Therapy Cancer Treatment Center, scheduled to open in 2014. "I know many of you saw the news yesterday," he added. "We put shovels in the dirt on a $305 million research facility."

Perman also described one of the university's forward-thinking efforts to create jobs. University of Maryland Ventures was launched in 2012 to help accelerate technology commercialization and advance industry collaboration. Together with the university's sister campus in College Park, UM Ventures brings discoveries out of the lab and into the marketplace. "In FY13 through UM Ventures we started 11 new companies," he said. "When you attract talented people and support their needs, what you get is a wonderful result."

Perman will have big shoes to fill as chair of the Downtown Partnership. President Kirby Fowler recalled for the group some of the accomplishments of outgoing chair John Frisch. Under Frisch's leadership, some aging skywalks have come down and another at Charles and Pratt streets is set to follow." We want to bring people down to the street," Fowler said, "and back into retail."

Fowler listed a half-dozen examples of new upscale residential development in the downtown area, including a project at 10 Light St. that he said is "going to be transformed into some of the highest-end apartments we'll have." He unveiled a new, 80-second video that will be used to encourage continued residential growth by promoting Baltimore as a "cool" place to live. "At the end of the day, everyone wants to feel as passionate about where they are as about what they do," he said.

Fowler also explained the importance of the downtown area to Baltimore's overall economy with some telling statistics. He said although the Downtown Management Authority (DMA) area comprises just 4 percent of the city's area, it contributes 12 percent of the property tax revenue and 24 percent of the income tax revenue.

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, JD '95, Baltimore mayor and university alumna, said her administration will continue to play an important role in downtown development. "I will continue to invest in downtown and all of Baltimore City as we continue to grow Baltimore," she said. "We plan to invest an additional $27 million in the next five years, for a total of $47.1 million in the DMA area."

Rawlings-Blake congratulated Perman on his new role and thanked him for his ongoing partnership as her co-chair on the Westside Advisory Committee. "I want to make Baltimore better, safer, and stronger together," she said. To view our photo gallery of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore's annual meeting, click here.
Posting Date: 09/19/2013
Contact Name: Alex Likowski
Contact Phone: 410-706-3801
Contact Email: alikowski@umaryland.edu