Digest

January 29, 2008

Morgan Stanley move to harbor expected with city's incentive

Baltimore is expected to provide a $1.5 million incentive to the financial services company Morgan Stanley to move to new offices in the Harbor Point development project, an expansion that is expected to generate 900 jobs.

Morgan Stanley, which has agreed to be the first tenant at the long-vacant and formerly contaminated property near Fells Point, would receive a $1.5 million loan - $750,000 of which would be forgiven if the company meets its job-creation goal.

The incentive - which is in addition to a similarly structured grant from the state - might become part of a larger package of subsidies by the city. It must still win approval from two city boards, including the Board of Estimates.

M.J. "Jay" Brodie, president of Baltimore Development Corp., noted that the company has received subsidies in the past to create new jobs and has met its goals to date. In all, he said, the company has vowed to bring 1,500 jobs to Baltimore.

"I think this is a very good message for the future of the financial sector in Baltimore," he said.

The incentive was expected to be approved yesterday by the Board of Finance, but it was deferred because absences at the meeting left the board without enough members to consider the proposal. The board is expected to meet again this week to vote on the project.

Developers say Harbor Point will become an $830 million office and residential campus, making it one of the largest waterfront projects in Baltimore. Gov. Martin O'Malley and Mayor Sheila Dixon joined other state and city leaders for the formal groundbreaking last week.

The project is expected to be complete in 2015.

The 1.8 million-square-foot project is being developed by H&S Properties Development Corp. and Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse. H&S Properties Development Corp. is owned by bakery magnate John Paterakis Sr., who has developed much of Harbor East.

John Fritze

Baltimore

: City Council

14 members support bill to ban trans fats

Fourteen of 15 members of the Baltimore City Council have signed on to support legislation to ban trans fats in restaurants, virtually assuring that the measure will be approved this year.

Baltimore would become one of the first jurisdictions in the nation - after New York, Philadelphia and Montgomery County - to approve such a ban, which would also apply to deli counters and fast-food chains. The bill was introduced yesterday and was assigned to the Public Safety and Health Committee for more discussion.

The only member who did not add his name to the bill, Nicholas C. D'Adamo Jr., did not attend last night's council meeting. A spokesman for Mayor Sheila Dixon said last week that the administration is reviewing the bill.

John Fritze

Chesapeake Bay

: Sandy Point

Container ship refloated near park

A container ship that ran aground yesterday in the Chesapeake Bay off Sandy Point State Park was refloated several hours later thanks to a high tide and the efforts of the crews of two Baltimore tugbots, said the U.S. Coast Guard at Curtis Bay.

The Panama-registered MSC Japan was heading south from Baltimore to the Atlantic Ocean about 4 p.m. when it went aground in shallow water near the park, said Lt. Isaac Saenz, a Coast Guard spokesman. The 37,000-gross-ton vessel was not in the shipping channel, Saenz said.

Saenz said the first report of the grounding came from a motorist on the Bay Bridge. The incident did not interfere with ship traffic, he said.

The ship's cargo and its destination were not available, Saenz said. There were no reports of injuries.

A Navy plane was dispatched and reported no signs of fuel leakage.

Once refloated, the ship traveled a short distance south to the Annapolis anchorage near the Naval Academy, where it will remain while the Coast Guard investigates the incident.

Richard Irwin

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