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Baltimore city council critical about Harbor Point tax deal

The Harbor Point Development Group LLC is developing a 27-acre property in Baltimore between Fells Points and Harbor East. When this Commercial real estate development is complete, it will become the new, 23-story, regional headquarters for Exelon Corp., as well as home for other business, such as Morgan Stanley. Harbor Point will also include hotels, apartments and 3,000-plus parking spaces.

The Harbor Point development project has already received a tax break of $1 billion and is eligible for another one. This is because the building site is contaminated, as it is where the former Allied Signal chromium plant operated. The Rawlings-Blake administration is asking for another $100 million through tax assistance programs from the Baltimore City Council to help fund the Harbor Point development.

Some council members are opposed to the proposal, saying it is "motivated by greed." Others believe it will help ensure the funding will help bring millions of dollars in economic development to one of the poorest areas of the city. Supporters say the funds will be repaid and that the short-term loss is outweighed by the long-term benefits.

Last year, the council voted to allow Harbor Point to be placed in the Baltimore's enterprise zone. This means it will not have to pay up to 80 percent of local property taxes for the next decade, which will cost the city about $53 million. The enterprise zone status was meant as an incentive to businesses to revitalize areas in the city's poorer regions. Harbor Point was able to qualify when the Baltimore Development Corp. added the area into the boundaries of the city's enterprise zone.

The city council will take up the matter on June 10, but it is has already received the approval from Baltimore's Board of Finance and the Baltimore Development Corp.

Commercial real estate matters such as these require skilled and qualified attorneys to ensure the interests of all parties involved are protected. Always contact an experienced attorney to handle your Commercial real estate deals.

Source:  baltimoresun.com, "Harbor Point's tax deal facing council criticism" Luke Broadwater, Jun. 02, 2013

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