Stormwater Fees Could Affect Baltimore Region’s Projected Warehouse Growth

A July 8 Baltimore Business Journal article discusses the Baltimore region’s strong projected warehouse growth but also notes concerns that local stormwater fees could slow or limit warehouse construction.

The Baltimore region ranks 10th in the nation for industrial space absorption, but two of the largest regional real estate brokerages warn that a lack of new construction and new stormwater fees could affect the market.

Year-to-date absorption of all industrial space was 1.5 million square feet for the region, led by Harford County with 1.1 million square feet absorbed, according to MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services LLC and Colliers Baltimore.  …

Both firms expressed optimism over the potential of increased shipping traffic at the Port of Baltimore over the next several years because of the expansion of the Panama Canal set for completion in 2015. But uncertainty over rising stormwater fees could slow large warehouse construction, according to MacKenzie. The firm noted that “opinions regarding the ultimate impact of the so-called ‘rain tax’ vary wildly.”

“Some owners [claim] major negative financial impacts,” MacKenzie reported, while “others simply [expect] to pass much of the cost increase along to tenants without significant complaint.”