With unemployment in Baltimore City higher than the national average, and that of many surrounding counties, job creation remains one of my top priorities.
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the annual real estate conference hosted by the International Conference of Shopping Centers in Las Vegas, Nevada. I met with a number of national retail executives and developers to promote the benefits of growing their businesses in Baltimore and to drive home the fact that our city is committed to bringing quality residential retail to city neighborhoods.
RECon is a global real estate convention for the shopping center industry with over 30,000 in attendance for this year. The conference offers local leaders an opportunity to network with retail real estate executives and government professionals from around the world.
For four days, beginning on May 20, I met with more than a dozen developers and government leaders who are using creative development trends to help spur employment. This year I was joined at the conference by City Councilman Carl Stokes. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who has attended over the last several years, and several local business development professionals were also on hand to promote Baltimore.
During these meetings I routinely stressed to retailers and developers the importance of creating and implementing an employment plan that puts residents to work. This is extremely important for projects that receive public subsidy. Also, I focused my discussions on bringing quality retail development to underserved neighborhoods and pitched Baltimore as the perfect location for expansion.
In the coming weeks and months I will continue to engage these national retailers and developers to sell them on bringing their business to Baltimore and working together to ensure that they have an employment plan that puts Baltimore residents to work.