Kamenetz seeks enterprise zone in Woodlawn near U.S agencies

State designation would provide hiring credits

county would fast-track permits

March 01, 2011|By Raven L. Hill, The Baltimore Sun

Baltimore County officials want to build on the value of two federal agencies with headquarters in Woodlawn by creating a tax-friendly enterprise zone to draw more jobs and investment to the area.

County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced plans Tuesday to create the Federal Center at Woodlawn enterprise zone near Interstate 695 and Dogwood Road. The Social Security Administration and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services employ nearly 16,000 people in the county with related contractors employing thousands more, officials said.

"We believe we have only scratched the surface of Woodlawn's potential," Kamenetz said. "The demand for growth is already there."

The county will seek enterprise zone designation from the state. The proposed center would include 230 acres of industrial- and commercial-zoned land. Companies could get income tax credits for hiring new employees and 10-year property tax credits for improvements. The county would fast-track permits, Kamenetz said.

Gov. Martin O'Malley said in a release that he commends the county executive for recognizing the importance of encouraging private-sector investment in one of the state's economic centers.

"As Maryland transitions into the new economy, we must work to create opportunities to tap into the knowledge-based and innovative jobs that are our future," O'Malley said.

Many buildings in the proposed zone have above-average vacancy rates, county officials said.

Kamenetz asked the County Council to issue a resolution of support for the proposal at its March 7 meeting. The county expects to receive notification in mid-June from the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.


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