Maryland Department of Commerce Expands Aberdeen-Havre de Grace/Harford County Enterprise Zone

From the Maryland Department of Commerce:

The Maryland Department of Commerce has designated, redesignated or expanded six enterprise zones in the state. Queen Anne’s County has been approved for a new enterprise zone along the US 50/301 corridor, and the City of Crisfield/Somerset County and the Town of Berlin/Worcester County enterprise zones have been redesignated. In addition, the City of Salisbury/Wicomico County and Greater Aberdeen-Havre de Grace/Harford County enterprise zones have been expanded, and the Central West Baltimore Enterprise Zone has a new Focus Area. The enterprise zone program, established in 1982, provides real property and state income tax credits to businesses that create jobs and make capital investments.

“I am pleased to designate a new enterprise zone for Queen Anne’s County and renew or expand five other zones in the state,” said Maryland Commerce Secretary Mike Gill. “This program generates opportunities in every region of Maryland by helping to grow existing businesses, attracting new businesses and creating jobs.”

Businesses located in the state’s 29 enterprise zones have received roughly $32 million in property tax credits in FY 2017 based on more than $2.8 billion in capital investments made in FY 2016. Over the past five years, businesses in Maryland’s enterprise zones have made a total of $13.7 billion in capital investments.

The new Queen Anne’s County 1,300-acre zone extends west from Nesbit Road in Grasonville to Rt. 8 in Stevensville and includes a majority of the commercial properties in Grasonville, Chester and Stevensville, including the various business parks. With this designation, the county will be able to promote job creation for local residents who currently commute out the county to work and better attract and retain businesses and help them expand. The county also hopes to increase the commercial tax base and redevelop under-utilized or vacant commercial and industrial land. This is the county’s first enterprise zone.

“The enterprise zone is a valuable incentive not only to attract new businesses, but also to help existing businesses to grow in a prime geographic location conducive for commercial infill and redevelopment opportunities,” says Jean Fabi, acting director of the Queen Anne’s County Department of Economic Development. “By providing state and local incentives, Queen Anne’s County is sending a clear message that it is open for business.”

The City of Crisfield/Somerset County jointly applied to redesignate their zone, which expired in June 2016. The zone is 792 acres and now includes the existing zone, as well as an expanded boundary with commercial areas within the city limits and municipal airport. Crisfield and Somerset County are hoping the zone will help with the redevelopment of under-utilized waterfront properties, improvements to Main Street’s vacant storefronts; and business attraction to the Crisfield/Somerset Municipal Airport.

“With an updated and expanded enterprise zone, Crisfield enthusiastically embraces the opportunity to leverage our assets with other potential partners in the region for a vibrant economic development effort, putting people to work and boosting our unique quality of life,” said City of Crisfield Mayor Kim Lawson.

The Town of Berlin/Worcester County applied to redesignate their existing zone, which expires this month. The boundaries of the zone remain the same and include vital parts of Berlin and extends into Worcester County. The town hopes the zone will continue to help attract new businesses and jobs and increase traffic in the downtown area.

“The Town of Berlin is growing by leaps and bounds” said Ivy Wells, the Town of Berlin’s director of economic and community development. “We look forward to continuing our Enterprise Zone Tax Credit program as a key driver for economic development for Berlin. We hope these incentives will encourage job growth and creation and also promote development on our vacant, underutilized land.”

The Central West Baltimore zone has a new 140-acre Focus Area along the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and W. North Avenue, which are key commercial corridors for the City of Baltimore. The Focus Area will encourage continued commercial property investment and economic development along these corridors, as well as spur revitalization of its surrounding neighborhoods, which will generate jobs for city residents and create a new source of property tax income with development of new properties in the area.

“Enterprise zones and focus areas are important tax incentives for the City of Baltimore and this designation will spur revitalization in West Baltimore,” said William H. Cole, president and CEO of the Baltimore Development Corporation. “These incentives will generate investment in these asset-rich communities, assist small businesses and create jobs for city residents linked to these corridors.”

Harford County and the cities of Aberdeen and Havre de Grace jointly applied to expand their current zone to include Riverside Business Park and Fieldside Commons in Aberdeen, which adds 700 acres to the current 8,910-acre zone. With the expanded zone, the county is planning to promote commercial and industrial reinvestment, attract meaningful employment opportunities, broaden the R&D, manufacturing, industrial, and commercial base, and include the tax base.

“Harford County welcomes the opportunity to expand the Enterprise Zone which is now inclusive of all business parks in our I-95/U.S. Route 40 corridor,” said County Executive Barry Glassman. “Economic development tools like the enterprise zone have a demonstrated track record of encouraging reinvestment in our business community and bringing jobs and retaining jobs in Harford County.”

The City of Salisbury-Wicomico County jointly applied to expand their existing zone to add the Salisbury-Ocean City Wicomico County Regional Airport, which adds 1,000 acres to the current 4,220-acre zone. The airport and airport business park have hosted Perdue Farms, Maryland State Helicopter, FedEx, and the Humane Society of Wicomico County, but there are still available facilities for lease as well as 85 acres of developable land in the newly expanded zone. With the expansion, the county will continue to promote industrial and commercial growth to help create new jobs, reduce unemployment, and support ancillary businesses and increase the tax base.

“Connecting Maryland’s second busiest commercial airport to Salisbury’s rapidly growing business core using this critical Maryland incentive is an important step in facilitating access for new businesses looking to become a part of the Salisbury Metro Area – the fastest growing job market in the Northeast United States and an increasingly popular location for employers and talent alike,” said Salisbury Mayor Jake Day.”

Commerce approves the state’s enterprise zones, while local governments are responsible for their administration. Businesses operating within an enterprise zone may be eligible for a tax credit towards their state income tax filings based upon the number of new jobs created, and a tax credit on their local real property taxes based upon their overall capital investment into a property.

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