In July, car parking problems around the Can Company complex became a technology story, as firms based there viewed the congestion as a serious reason to rethink whether they remain located in Canton. After six months, the volume is getting louder, as one of the city’s best known, publicly-traded web businesses is threatening to leave Baltimore altogether if nothing is done.
“[F]or Paul Palmieri, the CEO of Millennial Media,” reported the Sun in July this year, “the parking woes in Canton have never been worse. Each day, his 200 employees struggle to find places to park near Millennial’s headquarters at the Can Company complex, a bustling center of offices and restaurants on Boston Street.”
It was, and remains, such a problem that it now will dictate whether Millennial Media remains in its Can Company offices in Baltimore city, or picks up and moves for larger space in Baltimore County or Washington, D.C.
As the Baltimore Business Journal reports:
The issue is coming to a head now, as Palmieri questions whether his company can continue to grow at the Can Company Palmieri’s first choice would be to stay in Baltimore at the Can Company, where he has the space to accommodate more employees. The mobile advertising firm occupies at least 45,000 square feet in Canton. But without adequate parking, he said he might look elsewhere. [more]
This is what it has come to. Parking. The Achilles heel of a city with a multi-lane highway running straight down its center … is parking. Not a crime. Not a tax. Not a game. (Not a game.) We’re talkin’ ’bout parking.
It’s the strange corner of urban revitalization that Baltimore faces. Canton has one of the most vibrant, densest mixed-use corridors in the city — and proximity to residential and bus lines — but a car-driven culture doesn’t fit well there. It’s one thing if Millennial were simply outgrowing its space there, something that is a natural part of company growth, but an indictment of Canton and the Can Company complex is another.
It would be interesting to see how many employees walk or take the bus, but that’s likely not part of conversations between Palmieri, who could be jockeying for greater government support in some way, and Mayor Rawlings-Blake and Councilman James Kraft, whose district includes that stretch of Canton.
According to the BBJ, Millennial Media should have a decision by late January as to what it plans to do. Granted, one of those options might be moving to a different neighborhood in Baltimore city.
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