Friday Jun 7th, 2013
Originally posted in The Rawlings-Blake Review, Issue #167
Earlier this week, I introduced public infrastructure financing legislation to support Harbor Point, a new $1 billion master-planned, mixed-use community that will support thousands of construction jobs and permanent jobs and generate, on average, $19.6 million in new city tax revenue annually. Harbor Point is currently a largely-vacant 27-acre brownfields site—formerly the location of an Allied Signal chrome processing plant—located between the Fells Point and Harbor East communities.
Built in phases over 12 years, the project will include an estimated 1.6 million square feet of office space, new residential and retail space, a high-rise hotel, 1.2 million square feet of public parking (including 3,115 new spaces), and five distinct public urban parks. The project will be funded with approximately $920 million of private investment, supported by approximately $106.9 million of city Tax Increment Financing (TIF) bonds to finance public infrastructure, which does not presently exist at Harbor Point. In turn, the project is expected to create numerous benefits for Baltimore.
The project will bring significant new revenue to Baltimore City. Prior to the commencement of development at Harbor Point, the City has collected only about $244,000 per year in property tax revenue from the site. After development, the City anticipates an average of approximately $19.6 million per year in new tax revenues generated directly by the project. Harbor Point will sustain and grow the city’s tax base through increased property and other related taxes and revenues. The City will also receive profit sharing payments from the developer, subject to the approval of the Board of Estimates.
The development of Harbor Point will support a significant number of jobs, including an estimated 7,175 construction jobs, 6,611 direct permanent jobs, and 2,547 indirect jobs. The developer, working in conjunction with the Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women-Owned Business Development, is incorporating an inclusion strategy to comply with the City’s Minority and Women’s Business Enterprise program. The developer is also working closely with Baltimore Development Corporation and the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development to develop a local hiring plan to ensure that Baltimore City residents will have maximum opportunity to obtain employment related to the project under the mayor’s Employ Baltimore hiring program.
The project will include 9.5 acres of new public park land, including a half-mile of new public promenade connecting Fells Point with Harbor East—completing the city’s waterfront promenade system from Canton to Locust Point, and providing enhanced access to the city’s waterfront for all city residents.
The creation of a vibrant, new neighborhood will make Baltimore a better place to live, work, and play, furthering our goal of attracting 10,000 new families to the City of Baltimore. It is anticipated that the Harbor Point neighborhood will increase the city’s residential population by approximately 2,070 residents—a significant number of whom will be new to the city. In addition, the Harbor Point development project and the TIF will enhance and expand an existing public charter school, the Crossroads School, which will construct new educational facilities, partly as a result of TIF assistance.
Like the Inner Harbor revitalization effort of 30 years ago, the Harbor Point project represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to grow Baltimore by attracting new jobs, new residents, new tax revenue, and new public amenities. In total, more than a third of the development will be public park space that all of Baltimore’s residents can enjoy. I look forward to working with the City Council to move this important revitalization effort forward. I’m confident that we will be able to look back at this project together and know that it has made Baltimore better and stronger.
For more information about Harbor Point, including detailed financial figures and benefits for Baltimore, see our official press release.