|HUD No. 00-213|
|Further Information:||For Release|
|In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685||Thursday|
|Or contact your local HUD office||August 10, 2000|
$9 MILLION HUD AWARD BRINGS JOBS TO BALTIMORE'S WEST SIDE
WASHINGTON – Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced $9 million in funding to the City of Baltimore to renovate a historic art deco-style warehouse in the city's West Side Empowerment Zone, a move expected to create 1,400 new jobs and stimulate millions more dollars in additional private and public investment.
The funding will go to the Montgomery Park Business Center to renovate the 8-story structure, a warehouse until it closed in the late 1980s. The building will be redeveloped as a state-of-the art commercial office complex with room for about 3,500 workers. The restored warehouse will keep the original buildings architectural distinction with large flexible floor plates and high ceilings. It will also include access to transportation and parking and such 21st century amenities as fiber-optic/electronic wire networks.
"At HUD, we want to rejuvenate America's neighborhoods so that people who live, work and raise families there will have brighter futures," Cuomo said. "I pledge that HUD will work hand-in-hand with city officials and their partners to make sure that these projects create new businesses, new jobs and new opportunities for the people of Baltimore."
Cuomo made the announcement with Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley and U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski in a telephone conference call from Washington this afternoon.
"We are excited and delighted to receive these awards. The Montgomery Park Business Center is the single largest project we have underway, in terms of square feet and job potential. The Brownfields assistance funds will allow us to continue our technological expansion from the Digital Harbor on the eastside, while bringing jobs and commercial development to West Baltimore," said Mayor O'Malley. "Secretary Cuomo has been a good friend to Baltimore. This award is yet another example of his continued support for our city."
U.S. Senator Paul S. Sarbanes said: "This is terrific news for the West Side Empowerment Zone in our continuing efforts to provide new jobs and economic development opportunities in the City of Baltimore. With this funding we are enabling the Montgomery Park Business Center to become an incubator for hi-tech business opportunities."
Senator Mikulski added: "As a result of this funding award, Baltimore can move forward with plans to redevelop the former Montgomery Ward warehouse into a state-of-the-art commercial office complex. This will foster economic opportunity in the City, attract new high-tech firms and create jobs. This is a great opportunity for the West Side Empowerment Zone."
"This is exactly the type of role HUD should play in encouraging the revitalization of vacant property that can be converted to an economic asset that will help serve as catalyst for South West Baltimore," U.S. Representative Benjamin Cardin added.
Cuomo said that Baltimore will receive a $1 million Brownfields Economic Development Initiative (BEDI) grant and an $8 million Section 108 guaranteed loan.
Brownfields are abandoned industrial sites such as gasoline stations, oil storage facilities, dry cleaning stores, and other businesses that handled polluting substances. Since 1993, the Clinton Administration has taken a series of actions to clean-up and redevelop brownfields and return them to productive use. Included among the actions are:
- Providing seed money to communities for revitalization;
- Removing regulatory barriers to redevelopment; and,
- Providing targeted tax incentives to businesses that purchase and clean-up the sites.
- The Section 108 loan program permits communities to borrow funds at reduced interest rates to promote economic development, expand the housing stock or improve public facilities. The loan is "backed" by a portion of a jurisdiction's annual Community Development Block Grant entitlement.
Baltimore is one of 22 communities across the country to receive a BEDI grant this year. Some 32 communities competed for $25 million in funding available this year from the program.