Lt. Governor Brown Announces Significant BRAC Progress
Brown names five BRAC Zones and awards 16 BRAC Higher Education Fund Grants
ANNAPOLIS, MD (December 15, 2008) – At a news conference in Annapolis today, Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown announced significant progress in the state’s efforts to prepare for the job and population growth expected to come to Maryland due to Base Realignment and Closure. Brown, the Chair of the Governor’s Subcabinet on BRAC, designated five areas as BRAC Zones and awarded 16 grants to colleges and universities through the BRAC Higher Education Investment Fund. Today’s announcement comes approximately one year after Lt. Governor Brown and the BRAC Subcabinet submitted the BRAC Action Plan to Governor Martin O’Malley.
“A year ago, we presented a playbook for BRAC to Governor O’Malley. Today, as we look back on a year’s work, we can say with great confidence that we have made incredible progress – progress that will continue into the New Year,” Lt. Governor Brown said. “By working across county lines and partisan labels, Maryland will be ready for BRAC. We know the challenges we face, and we are working past them by helping local government prepare the sustainable infrastructure and by giving our colleges and universities the support they need to build a BRAC-ready workforce.”
The authorization to designate BRAC Zones was established with the Governor O’Malley’s signing of the BRAC Community Enhancement Act earlier this year. All jurisdictions are eligible to apply for BRAC Zone designation, with priority given to areas that are served by public transportation and have the greatest capacity for economic growth. Local jurisdictions may use financial incentives offered through the BRAC Zone program to directly fund infrastructure improvements in the designated area or indirectly fund such improvements by repaying Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Bonds or other bonds that have been issued for such infrastructure improvements.
BRAC Zone designations are determined by the Secretary of the Department of Business & Economic Development (DBED), in consultation with the Secretaries of the Departments of Transportation, Housing & Community Development, Environment, and Planning. Brown toured each of the proposed BRAC Zone sites with DBED Secretary David W. Edgerley this fall, prior to awarding BRAC Zone designation. All five applications that were received were accepted: the Westport Waterfront development in Baltimore City, an area near MARC Odenton Station in Anne Arundel County, an area near Andrews Air Force Base at the Branch Avenue Metro Station in Prince George’s County, an area in historic Frederick and near the Frederick Transit Center, and an area in the City of Laurel along Route 1 and near the Laurel MARC Station.
Baltimore City’s BRAC Zone includes the Westport Waterfront development and the Westport MD295 Ramp improvements. The 42.9-acre Westport Waterfront project will comprise two million square feet of office space, 300,000 square feet of retail space, 2,000 residential units, and 500 hotel rooms. Construction of the first building pad is expected to begin in 2009.
“I am pleased that Baltimore City is one of the first jurisdictions to receive a BRAC Zone designation,” said Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon. “The BRAC Zone concept is a true example of how the State, and in particular the Lieutenant Governor, is taking a leadership role on BRAC and responding to the needs of local government.”
Anne Arundel County’s BRAC Zone encompasses 776.9 acres near the MARC Odenton Station and along MD-175. The most notable projects at the site include the transit-oriented, mixed-use developments at Village at Odenton and Odenton Town Center.
“Development of the Odenton Town Center is critically needed to address the demands for housing, business services, office space and retail that will come with the expected growth at Fort Meade,” said Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold. “The vision planned for development in Odenton has been to create a strong sense of place with a pedestrian-oriented community, close to public transportation, that offers a destination for shopping, employment, and entertainment. This BRAC Zone designation, made possible through our partnership with the State of Maryland, will help support Anne Arundel County in making this vision a reality.”
The BRAC Zone site in Prince George’s County encompasses 654.9 acres and includes the Branch Avenue Metro Station and commercial corridors along Auth Road, Suitland Parkway, Branch Avenue, and Allentown Road. The zone supports the Town Center at Camp Springs, a mixed use project with 1,201 luxury apartments, 60,000 square feet of office space and 71,000 square feet of retail space, with Mixed Use Transit Oriented zoning.
The Frederick East Side BRAC Zone includes 644.8 acres and includes historic downtown Frederick, the Transit Center and Monocacy Boulevard northeast up to and including the Research Park. The Frederick application includes plans for office, industrial and warehouse space at Riverside Research Park, 66-acres of mixed-use development at the Frederick Brick Works, and a 1.3 mile mixed-use urban park at Carroll Creek Park.
“The City of Frederick is proud to be the home of Fort Detrick and the National Cancer Institute. This BRAC Zone designation by the state will help the City provide much needed transportation infrastructure, brownfield remediation, and mixed-use infill development,” said Frederick Mayor William J. (Jeff) Holtzinger.
The BRAC Zone in the City of Laurel is a 293-acre area that includes redevelopment of Laurel Commons Town Center, Hawthorne Place, a section of Route 1 and the city’s Main Street area near the MARC Station. The Laurel Commons Town Center project includes plans for a $200 million private investment for the redevelopment of Laurel Mall.
“The City of Laurel has always enjoyed a close working relationship with the State, and this process will strengthen that bond. The State BRAC Zone designation will provide timely and valuable assistance to Laurel to improve infrastructure and enhance our ability to accommodate growth as a result of the Fort Meade buildup,” said Laurel Mayor Craig A. Moe.
At the news conference, Brown also announced the recipients of the BRAC Higher Education Fund grants. The Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) administers the grant program and was allocated $2 million in the Fiscal Year 2009 budget to finance the grants. Sixteen applications were approved by the MHEC panel ranging from $25,000 to $164,500. The approved programs include basic literacy, continuing education, incumbent worker training and on-line and graduate projects. Baltimore City Community College, Bowie State University, Cecil College, the Community College of Baltimore County, Hagerstown Community College, Harford Community College, Johns Hopkins University, Morgan State University, Prince George’s Community College, Towson University, the University of Baltimore, the University of Maryland Baltimore County and Washington College received grants.
“UMBC is delighted to receive funding from the MHEC BRAC Higher Education Investment Fund. This grant will enable us to enhance and extend our master’s programs in Electrical Engineering and Engineering Management to BRAC workers and their contractors. We are pleased to be working with the State of Maryland to address BRAC workforce needs,” UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski said.
Every Maryland institute of higher learning is eligible to apply for the BRAC Higher Education Fund grants, including two- and four-year public or independent colleges or universities, Maryland research institutions, Maryland Regional Higher Education centers, and Maryland private career schools.
Lt. Governor Brown and the BRAC Subcabinet will release the 2008 BRAC Progress Report next week. The Progress Report will provide matrices and documentation based on the action items detailed in the BRAC Action Plan that was presented to Governor O’Malley last December.