Raincliffe Center deal expires owner unable to get financing

January 07, 1994|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Staff Writer

The $1.5 million public financing agreement for Raincliffe Center, a 32-acre industrial and commercial business project in Sykesville, expired last Saturday.

David Moxley, project manager for Security Enterprises of Ellicott City and owner of the property, said yesterday he was unable to secure $2 million in conventional financing or attract tenants to the site at Raincliffe Road and Route 32, conditions for the $1.5 million loan.

"We are disappointed at losing what probably is the most innovative loan package in the state," said James L. Schumacher, town manager. "It will serve as a model for other towns, and we can't use our own model."

In an unusual arrangement negotiated 18 months ago, Sykesville agreed to borrow $1.25 million from the state and $250,000 from the county to pay for the center's infrastructure, including water and sewer lines and roads. The state granted a six-month extension to the original agreement last July.

The town planned to repay the loan with taxes collected from businesses on the site. Once developed and fully leased, the center was expected to generate 25 percent of the town's tax revenues and create 400 jobs, said Mayor Kenneth W. Clark.

Mr. Moxley said he will continue "to explore all avenues to make the project work." After working years to "get the zoning in place," he said he hopes to develop the property with private money, possibly borrowed at a rate comparable to the state's 8.1 percent.

"With falling interest rates, we could probably find comparable rates privately," he said.

He envisions a supermarket, bank and a fast-food restaurant as anchor tenants.

Although Raincliffe Center is "priced competitively at $100,000 an acre for developed land," Mr. Moxley said, "the soft industrial market" has stymied his efforts to lease space.

"The Carroll County industrial market is not as competitive as it could be," he said. "There are many drawbacks to locating in the county, including lack of a transportation network."

Mr. Moxley plans to address the Sykesville Town Council next month "to update them on our plans. The partnership is not sitting still."

Mr. Schumacher said he has not seen any further proposals from the developer, but Mr. Moxley could ask the council for a zoning change.

"The land is zoned industrial," said Mr. Schumacher. "At this point, the mayor and council want to see it developed for business."

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