For the Birds

Of all the development options the owners of the Horseshoe could have proposed to go on the water, next to their Baltimore casino, is a Topgolf driving range/bar really the best they could do?

If you don’t already know, the owners of the Horseshoe Casino – the only one of Maryland’s 6 casinos that has been experiencing declining revenues in the past few years and with substantial support from Mayor Pugh and her Baltimore Development Corporation – are planning to put a Topgolf on these two adjacent waterfront properties…

Topgolf Property Google Satellite Image

The red Google Maps marker is M&T Bank Stadium “Lot J” which the city leases to the Ravens.  The address of Lot J is 1411 Warner St.  To its right is the BARCS animal shelter at 301 Stockholm St.  Both properties are city-owned and will be sold to the Topgolf developers led by Caves Valley Parters (CVP), an owner of the Horseshoe Casino.  Not incidentally, Steve Sibel, who is a CVP partner, is also Catherine Pugh’s Campaign (Finance?) Manager.

The site plan below shows the footprint and orientation of the proposed Topgolf – including the 175′ poles that will hold up the screen on three sides of the property to prevent golf balls from going off the property and into the harbor.  (You may want to click on the image to make it larger.)


Topgolf Site Plan


There are many reasons why this Topgolf is all wrong for Baltimore, for the neighborhood and for the city overall.  Now add to them this…  The obvious irony that, in a city where both major league teams – the MLB Baltimore Orioles and NFL Baltimore Ravens – are named after birds, the owners of the Horseshoe are putting up a Topgolf which has a 175′ screen around 3 sides.  (FYI, 175′ is the height of a 17 story building.)  Very attractive, particularly with a driving range open weekends until 2 AM with daytime lighting.  More to the point, that screen is a major hazard to local and migratory birds.

Unbelievable, isn’t it?  If a Topgolf driving range and bar is really the best the owners of the Horseshoe can do, it’s no wonder their casino is struggling.  And it’s further evidence that the Baltimore Development Corporation and Mayor’s office are clueless about the type and location of development that is necessary, that is essential to save the city and improve the quality of life for the majority of its resident families who are having difficulty.

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