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Old Posted May 23, 2006, 9:51 PM
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StevenW StevenW is offline
Baltimore's Rep in SC.
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Born in Baltimore, Live in Newberry, SC.
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BTW, here's another article talking about the two new tallest towers:

City construction stills the music again
By JEN DEGREGORIO
Daily Record Business Writer
May 23, 2006

The Hammerjacks nightclub was resurrected on Baltimore’s East Side after losing its West Side home to stadium parking. On Saturday the club will be quieted again in order to make room for a 60-story mixed-use tower. “Yes, the rumors are true. May 27 Hammerjacks will be closing their doors forever.”

That is the voice-mail message left by Hammerjacks, a Baltimore nightclub once legendary for luring big-name rock performers to Charm City during the 1980s and 1990s. The club has traveled a tortuous path to its current incarnation as a venue for the hip-hop and dance set. Hammerjacks was forced to move from its long-time home on South Howard Street in 1997 to make room for parking spaces for Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium. It reopened in 2000 on Guilford Avenue just north of City Hall and led a more humble existence ever since.

Once again the club will close. Developers are buying the Hammerjacks building at 316 Guilford Ave. as part of a footprint on which plans call for a 60-story skyscraper that could be completed by 2010. The deal is expected to close Monday. “Hammerjacks has been an institution in this city for quite some time,” said J. Kirby Fowler, president of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore Inc. “I’m not sure if it will resurrect itself elsewhere.”

Although the Hammerjacks voice-mail said the club will close its doors “forever,” it is unclear whether a new club by the same name would open in another Baltimore location. Club owner Michael Hunter did not return phone calls for comment. “Hammerjacks was successful as a place to go party,” said Mariano Mumpower, a Baltimore DJ who goes by the stage name Soulminer. “They had hip-hop shows. Big names in gangster rap music came there.”

Fowler said he regrets seeing an end to the era. But he believes new construction and residents will be better for downtown. “Downtown still is the spot for night life, and the loss of one bar won’t hurt that image one bit,” Fowler told The Daily Record in an interview last week

For many, the Hammerjacks era ended when the club closed in 1997, said Bud Becker, an advertising and marketing consultant for the club from 1986 to 1992. Band Guns ‘N’ Roses made its East Coast debut at Hammerjacks, he said. Nirvana, Poison and Motley Crue were among other bands whose tour buses stopped there.

“It was the premier rock venue on the East Coast,” Becker said.

Original owner Lou Principio reluctantly sold the building to the city in 1997 to make way for the stadium parking, according to reports that year in the Baltimore Sun. Principio then reopened the club on Guilford, targeting a different demographic. But the Hammerjacks on Guilford never became the icon for hip-hop fans that the South Howard venue was for rock fans, Mumpower said.

“You don’t really hear too much about it because Power Plant Live has really taken over a lot of that dance crowd,” Becker said, referring to the sprawling downtown complex created by developer The Cordish Co. According to land records, Principio sold the Guilford Hammerjacks in 2004 to 316 Guilford Avenue LLC, a limited liability company that lists Hunter, the club’s new owner, as the property’s resident agent.

The music will stop altogether at 316 Guilford Ave., now controlled by RWN Development Inc. and Rockville-based Bresler & Reiner Inc. The developers are flirting with the idea of opening a restaurant in the space while they finalize their plans to build a 60-story, mixed-use tower there.

The companies also plan to build another 60-story tower just blocks away from the Hammerjacks spot, on top of property where a more rock-oriented club, Sonar, operates on Saratoga Street. One…., another nightclub, sits on the opposite side of Saratoga Street. Mumpower wonders what effect the towers will have on the area’s music scene. “That completely changes that whole area,” Mumpower said.
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