'Recovery Zone' Projects To Be Decided Soon

November 21, 2009|By Edward Gunts | Edward Gunts,ed.gunts@baltsun.com

Nineteen development teams have applied to take advantage of $30.8 million in funding assistance available to construct or rehabilitate buildings within a newly created "recovery zone" in Baltimore.

The Baltimore Development Corp. announced Friday that it received 19 applications for more than $185 million in loans. The agency said it was seeking to fund office buildings, hotels and other projects that have stalled amid the recession and might qualify for federal stimulus funds allocated to the city.

Kim Clark, BDC executive vice president, said its board members met this week to determine which projects to recommend to Mayor Sheila Dixon for funding. Clark declined to reveal the recommendations but said she expects Dixon's decision by the end of the month.

The $30.8 million would come in the form of "recovery zone bonds" available through the federal stimulus legislation - the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act - for new construction, expansion or rehabilitation of commercial projects. With financing all but cut off for many commercial projects, city officials have said they hope to jump-start development by issuing bonds with tax-exempt interest, thus making them more attractive to potential investors. The city's financing comes from a pool of $15 billion in recovery zone bonds available nationally for private-sector projects.

The funding requests include: $3.4 million for apartments and retail space at 311 W. Baltimore St.; $1.6 million for apartments and retail space at 1201-07 N. Charles St.; $6 million to the Volunteers of America to build a post-prison "re-entry center" at an undetermined site; $14 million to Himmelrich Associates for a medical waste treatment and commercial laundry facility in Curtis Bay; $19.2 million for a parking garage in the East Baltimore Development Inc. district; $30.8 million for the Gateway South project on Russell Street if a proposed casino doesn't materialize; $10 million for the proposed Flour House apartments on Guilford Avenue; $3.5 million for the Hollander 95 Business Park; $15.625 million to finish the Hotel Monaco on Charles Street.

Also, $10 million for a "hydrofoil passenger ferry plant" in Fairfield; $8.1 million for a 77-room boutique hotel on the upper levels of Penn Station; $8 million for the Marketplace at Fells Point mixed-use development; $5 million for the McHenry Row development in Locust Point; $10 million for the Poppleton Redevelopment project: $5 million for the Sheraton Four Points Hotel proposed for 25 S. Calvert St.; $18.3 million for a 97-room Sonesta Hotel proposed for 301 N. Charles St., and $30.8 million for a third BioPark building at the University of Maryland at Baltimore.

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