In 2001, BDC says, it fostered $539 million in investments

City development arm reports aid to 73 projects

August 10, 2002|By Meredith Cohn | Meredith Cohn,SUN STAFF

At Baltimore Development Corp., the public-private agency charged with luring and retaining business in the city, the tasks last year were large and small. For instance, Public Storage, which brought two full-time jobs to Baltimore, received assistance in navigating the city's permitting process, while Montgomery Park, expected to be the city's largest office building, got help securing an $8 million public loan.

Altogether, the agency's efforts resulted in retention or creation of 6,705 jobs in 2001, according to the BDC's recently released annual report.

The report says BDC assisted 73 businesses and real estate projects that made $539.2 million in capital investments in the city with $63.8 million in public incentives.

In 2000, BDC reported, it assisted 76 companies that invested $145.8 million and added or retained 6,263 jobs.

M.J. "Jay" Brodie, BDC president, said he was pleased with the results in a difficult economic environment further stymied by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

"Lots of things moved forward," Brodie said. "The only area really [negatively] affected was the hotel industry."

Brodie noted at least two projects that were delayed by the attacks. A Marriott Residence Inn and a Hampton Inn and Suites, both planned for Redwood Street downtown, lost their financing and needed more time, and the BDC's financial aid, to get back on track.

Brodie said the agency evaluates the long- and short-term return to the city before public assistance - generally of loans and tax breaks - is granted. The BDC is also responsible for selling city properties for development or redevelopment.

The agency was accused of for years of unresponsiveness to businesses as the city lost jobs. But a 1996 reorganization largely eliminated such criticism from the business community. Former BDC Chairman Roger C. Lipitz, who retired from that post in October after six years, and Brodie have been given much of the credit.

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