Emerging technology center gets $1 million state grant Former American Can complex houses center to help entrepreneurs


September 03, 1998|By Greg Garland | Greg Garland,SUN STAFF

The Board of Public Works approved a $1 million state grant yesterday to help develop an "emerging technology center" at the former American Can Co. complex in Baltimore's Canton neighborhood.

The state grant will help pay for improvements to 50,000 square feet of space in one of the complex's buildings. It will serve as a center for entrepreneurs developing new businesses in telecommunications and other high technology fields, officials said.

The grant was made to the quasi-public Maryland Economic Development Corp. (MEDCO), which will lease space from the owners. MEDCO is receiving $2.25 million from federal, state and local grants and the Abell Foundation for the project.

MEDCO Executive Director Hans Mayer said the project is "not a city thing, it's a regional thing" that presents an opportunity to attract new businesses to Maryland involved in the fast-growing world of high technology.

"There are long-term possibilities here, and that's really what we're trying to do," Mayer said.

The center is one part of a larger development project of the

former American Can complex. Another 150,000 square feet of space is under development by Struever Bros., Eccles & Rouse Inc. as office and retail space.

The owner of the former American Can complex is The Can Company LLC.

William Struever of the Struever Bros. firm said the limited partnership is "99.9 percent owned" by a NationsBank investment fund. He said his company and Fannie Mae American Communities Fund have a small part of the Can Company partnership.

Struever said $22.5 million in private funds were spent acquiring and renovating the former American Can Co. complex, and the owners are essentially turning over a quarter of the space for the technology center without any commitment that rent will be paid.

"I think they got a very good deal with a first-class facility, which is the kind of facility you see when you go to San Francisco, Chicago, Cambridge [Mass.] or New York," Struever said.

Pub Date: 9/03/98

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