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Hello everyone!

The docks district we see in the game is a hive for gangsters, but there's a few signs the area has seen better days.

Harper compound - Jaheira mentions that the building lacks the subtlety that the Harpers usually operate under. She's definitely right about that. It's a giant orange building in a place with dull colours. That structure aids the Harpers in the same way a building labeled "undercover cop center" helps law enforcement. I can't really guess at what it might've been originally. Maybe a courthouse? I think the Harpers moved in, but maybe Galvarey erected it for the purpose we get in the game.

Shadow Thieves' buildings - Maevar's guild hall was clearly an inn. We see Gorch at the desk and the building layout (at least the top part) resembles the other inns in both games.

Renal Bloodscalp's command center looks like a warehouse. There are crates in the building and the docks district is... a dock. Ships would come in and move their cargo to Bloodscalp's building (I doubt any legitimate merchandise goes there now) and the room you meet him in was probably meant for clerical work.

Valygar's house - Probably the biggest sign that the docks was a nicer place. Valygar himself is a noble. We know he's wealthy because he has a cottage in Umar Hills...and because the game tells us. His wealthy heritage goes back generations and rich people usually don't buy property in poverty ridden areas.

Well, that's all I can come up with. What do you think of my observations?
The look alike buildings is called copy/paste. As for the docks themselves, such areas generally do attract less desirable inhabitants as they become more and more run down. I've no doubt that they once were a pleasant enough place to reside, if you don't mind the hustle and bustle of an industrialised seaside town.