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October 26, 2010

Can Cordish Cos. find a new tenant for closed ESPN Zone?

Five months after ESPN Zone closed in Inner Harbor, the Walt Disney Co.-owned bar is still upsetting employees.

On Monday, five of them filed a class action lawsuit charging the company with failing to adhere to federal labor laws, The Sun's Gus Sentementes reports this morning.

The lawsuit also underscores the absence of the venue from Power Plant, where along, with Barnes and Noble and Hard Rock Cafe, it was one of the anchors of the area. The big question remains: will Cordish Cos. replace it any time soon? Can it?

The concept bar, which had been open for 12 years, abruptly closed in June when Disney shut down locations in Chicago, New York, Las Vegas, and Washington D.C.

Then, 20 workers of the Baltimore location protested the closure, alleging the company didn't give them the 60 days notice federal law demands for layoffs. But, the company, which did file a notice letter with state officials in time, disputes the charge.

The lawsuit is only the latest step in their dispute. The workers, Sentementes writes, could be joined by employees at some of the other locations.

What remains unchanged through this fracas is the venue itself. In June, Cordish Companies, said they were looking to fill the spot with another big-box store.

But so far, it remains unoccupied.

Photo: ESPN kitchen workers demonstrate outside Garmatz Federal Courthouse/Kenneth Lam, Baltimore Sun

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Posted by Erik Maza at 2:55 PM | | Comments (26)
Categories: News


I have no trouble believing that ESPNZone screwed over their past employees... but in what way do they claim it violated their human rights? Are they claiming that ESPN paying them less than the required minimum severance pay constitutes a "Human Rights violation"?

How can you be posting this picture up everywhere without explaining how ESPN has committed a human rights violation?

Are you f'ing kidding me? ESPN gave them 60 days worth of severance. Tell those people to get a J-O-B. Who knows 60 days in advance when they are going to close, horrible law. These people are out for free money and I hope ESPN fights this case so that the plaintiff's and their lawyers end up with nothing. What's the saying "a picture is worth a thousand words" enough said. Stop wasting your time and my money and protesting at City Hall, I am sure that you are probably collecting unemployment as well.


Slots? Nah, still too close to that mall.

great location for slots , much better than arundel mills.

I'm not going to comment either way on the particulars with ESPN, but for some of the commenters:

The WARN Act is where the 60 days notice comes from. When you are a major employer with over 100 employees, you typically have a good idea you'll be closing your doors at least 2 months in advance of when it happens.

If you don't, it is likely covered under one of the WARN exceptions, "unforseeable business circumstances." (Though Disney would have a near-impossible time arguing that)

Here's more info on the WARN Act:

Alewife should move there

House of Blues and they shouldn't give those 5 people jobs nor should anybody else.

ESPN thinks they run the world, on television and radio. They are so full of themselves on their high horse. On this issue, I don't know. I am sure ESPN has screwed a lot of people over in the past, but I don't know if these five fit the bill. Even so, if a greedy and monolithic corporation loses, then good.

I remember a few years ago when the Yankees were in town and I heard they went to the ESPN Zone to do their team wide fantasy football picks. This got me wondering about why, if you are a group of millionaires, you would go to a craphole like the ESPN Zone? By choice.

rent over by Alewife is in the 12k-15k/month range. that location has to be 4 times that. You guys really want them to fail lol

It would probably make more sense for that future H&M to occupy that spot instead of Harborplace. It should probably be big enough. Or maybe even bring a Uniqlo or Topman to Baltimore...

This has been said numerous times before but honestly Cordish should just replace it with something very, very similar to ESPN zone like D&B or something. Locals bitch about how touristy it is but those places make Bankola and the city needs that kind of business.

I was thinking the same thing Evan- Disney dropped ESPN Zones- they made bankola but they weren't making Disney bankola. In 2000 my then company spent 15K there in one night.

@Tif -- "In 2000" is the key part of that sentence, I think. Granted, I don't know all the ins and outs, but my impression was, ESPN Zone didn't change much over the years. Maybe people just got tired of it?

who of you go to the harbor? The place is for tourists and when a recession hits people stop traveling. People stop traveling disney has to make cutbacks across the board. I bet their dvd revenue went up during the time. I know they gave us a large chunk of change to do and and when that money ran out- another Bmore company bites the dust...

The REAL question is, whens the yard sale?

slots slots slots slots slots

slots slots slots slots slots


and now i have that awful song in my head.

i assume there's probably a zoning issue, but a slots parlor would go well there.

how about a bar/restaurant/lounge that combines all the establishments that have failed on Boston Street? yeah!

There are more on the way. The former Pur, Good Love etc... has plans posted on the building for a new restaurant. The former Red House, Cardwell's etc... should be opening soon.
The former Red Fish, Tangier's etc... should also be opening soon.

"Or maybe even bring a Uniqlo or Topman to Baltimore" YES YES YES!!!!

"Or maybe even bring a Uniqlo or Topman to Baltimore" YES YES YES!!!!

Cap't Bingamton's Haus of Cheese!!!

The former Tangiers is now called Hollywood's. It was open this weekend, but both times that I drove by it looked dead.

I drove past the former Tangiers Saturday morning. The awnings still said Tangiers but they had new banners for Hollywoods over it.

By the time I returned Saturday evening, they had spraypainted over the Tangiers logo.

Stay Classy!

Spraypainted over the logo! Sounds like they are rolling out the red carpet Hollywood's style. Stagger, saw in another entry that you went to Jack's this weekend. That is probably my fav restaurant in Baltimore, sounds like you had a good time.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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