Baltimore Spending Council Approves $39.3M in TIF Bonds for Harbor Point, Latest $125M Public Investment – ​​Baltimore Sun

The Baltimore Spending Council on Wednesday approved an additional $39.3 million in tax-enhanced funding bonds for the city’s Harbor Point development, the latest piece of public funding for the high-profile waterfront project. .

In 2013, the city approved $125 million in public funding for Harbor Point under what is known as tax increment financing or TIF bonds. TIF bonds are designed to help ambitious developments get off the ground, usually by covering the costs of improving infrastructure. The additional property taxes generated under a TIF are used to pay down debt – instead of city coffers.

So far, Harbor Point has used about $86 million of that bond financing, according to bond disclosure documents.

The five-member board of estimates unanimously approved the latest round of funding without discussion on Wednesday. A memorandum of understanding with Harbor Point Open Space Corp. and the City of Baltimore Waterfront Management Authority has also been approved to govern the maintenance of parks and open spaces in the waterfront development.

The 27-acre Harbor Point, developed by Beatty Development Group on the reclaimed site of a former chrome plant, has also received tens of millions of dollars in government grants through enterprise zone tax credits, property tax relief to stimulate investment in disadvantaged communities. . The area surrounding Harbor Point was too affluent to meet the criteria for an Enterprise Zone, but city and state officials made the controversial decision in 2012 to include the area anyway through d a technical detail.

According to 2012 estimates, Enterprise Zone tax credits for Harbor Point were expected to cost city and state taxpayers $88 million in foregone tax revenue. The Baltimore Sun was able to identify nearly $32 million in business tax credits claimed by the Harbor Point development so far, according to disclosures made in public filings, but that number will increase in the coming years.

City officials redesigned Baltimore’s business zone map this year, and the state approved the changes earlier this month. The new map leaves out Harbor Point, but developments that started before the change will still be able to claim the tax credit for several years.

The Enterprise Zone Tax Credit is a 10-year program that is phasing out. In recent months, there has been groundbreaking work at Harbor Point for two major phases just ahead of the new map, including a new 550,000 square foot headquarters for T. Rowe Price.

Garland K. Long