$21 million in aid sought for job-related projects Maryland would tap 'Sunny Day' fund

August 31, 1996|By Michael Dresser | Michael Dresser,SUN STAFF

The Glendening administration is recommending that the state tap its "Sunny Day" fund for about $21 million for nine projects designed to create an estimated 2,000 jobs and retain another 8,000 in Maryland.

The largest of the payments, $11.5 million, would go to Northrop Grumman Corp. as an incentive to upgrade its facilities and expand its work force at its Electronic Sensors and Systems Division near Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

The combination of loans and grants represents an aggressive effort by the state to protect the 7,300-strong work force at the Northrop facility, which it acquired from Westinghouse Corp. in January.

The state also plans to dip into the Sunny Day fund to kick in $600,000 to help Dome Corp., a subsidiary of Johns Hopkins Health Systems, establish a Center for Inherited Disease Research at Hopkins' Bayview campus. The $300,000 loan and $300,000 grant would match $9 million in private investment in the biotechnology research center, which is expected to employ about 55.

The state Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) outlined its proposed Sunny Day investments in letters to Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr. The legislators are co-chairmen of the Legislative Policy Committee, which oversees expenditures by the fund, technically known as Maryland Economic Opportunities Fund.

The committee will meet Wednesday to consider requests for payouts to eight private businesses and one to help create a revolving-loan fund to support development in the Lower Eastern Shore.

If approved, the projects would be the beneficiaries of the administration's initiative to expand the Sunny Day fund from $5 million in fiscal 1995 to $27 million now.

The sole nonprofit recommended is the Lower Shore Revolving Loan Fund, which would be administered by the University of Maryland Eastern Shore to finance projects in Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties. The proposed $500,000 Sunny Day grant would match a $1.5 million federal grant for the fund, which DBED estimated could create 890 jobs.

The Northrop package would include a $4 million grant and a $7.5 million loan to be disbursed over four years. In addition to the Sunny Day funds, the state is proposing to give Northrop a five-year, $5 million job-training grant.

The other proposed loans and grants from the Sunny Day fund include: A loan package worth $2.7 million to help Staples Office Supply build a distribution center in Hagerstown. DBED said $700,000 of the package would convert to a grant if the Framingham, Mass.-based retailer creates 700 jobs by the end of 1998.

Loans and grants worth $1.5 million to CanAm Steel of Quebec to expand its steel fabrication plant near Point of Rocks in Frederick County. The expansion is expected to add 110 jobs to an existing 284.

A $1 million loan to Filtronic Comtek to expand a plant in Wicomico County that manufactures microwave filters for cellular phones. DBED estimated that the expansion would add 219 jobs at the plant, which now employs 181.

A $500,000 loan and a conditional $500,000 grant to William T. Burnett Inc. of Baltimore to help finance a consolidation of its STX lacrosse stick manufacturing operations in Baltimore. According to DBED, the project is expected to add 15 jobs and help retain an existing 255 in Maryland.

A $750,000 conditional grant to Principal Health Care Inc. of Montgomery County to expand its administrative facility. If the .. company does not meet its target of 100 new jobs by the end of 1997, the grant would convert to a loan.

A $1.5 million loan to Metro Center Inc. to renovate a building in Hyattsville to house the Federal Emergency Management Administration, which is expected to bring 563 new jobs to Maryland when it consolidates operations there.

Pub Date: 8/31/96

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