WHAT'S WITH THESE ENTERPRISE ZONES?
|Yesterday, Downtown Partnership of Baltimore prez Kirby Fowler, who's speaking at Bisnow's The Future of Downtown & the Waterfrontevent this Thursday at the Four Seasons, chatted with us about the State's new Enterprise Zones, in which the City participates by also providing tax credits. Basically, any non-residential renovation project within the zones gets an 80% tax abatement for the next five years, and that abatement shrinks 10% per year to 30% by the 10th year. Plus, any new employee (not counting a replacement) nets the company $1,000, or $6,000 over three years for an economically disadvantaged employee.|
|There's the standard motivation to reinvigorate the City's industrial and office stock, but last week's enterprising move is a big push for retail corridors: Reisterstown Station, Gwynn?s Falls, St. Agnes, Franklintown Road, and West North Avenue. Kirby says Pratt Street is doing just fine, but now it's on an even playing field, having been left out of the fun before. It's close to being Baltimore City's "grand boulevard" but isn't there yet, he says. The Best Buy block of space is still under the ailing retailer's control, but the Enterprise Zone expansion should benefit it. And the Downtown Partnership is working with owners at 400 E Pratt and 100 S Charles on two-story retail additions reaching 35 feet onto the 90-foot-deep sidewalk.|
|Kirby tells us his organization is coming out with a study soon showcasing continued demand for multifamily housing in the city, which will bolster the Downtown Partnership's efforts to convert obsolete office to residential. And the latest in the its push to improve public spaces: The fountain just started up last week for Wendy Ross' $200k sculpture, Flora, at Hopkins Plaza. Kirby tells us the City Department of Transportation helped cart the sculpture over and assemble it, and a bunch of Baltimore firms pitched in: Hord Coplan Macht (architecture), RK&K (engineering), Maritime Applied Physics Corp (fabrication), and Fountain Craft Mfg. If you look closely, Kirby says, you can see the bronze sculpture of a soldier holding a musket that is supposed to grace every municipal park in the country. Last chance to sign up for our Thursday event!|