800 Attend Port Covington TIF Hearing; Chair Affirms No Vote Anytime Soon

Last night’s Baltimore City Council hearing on Sagamore Development’s controversial tax increment financing (TIF) request for Port Covington attracted 800 concerned attendees and lasted four hours before the Taxation, Finance and Economic Development Committee recessed. The hearing had to be relocated to the War Memorial Building’s large auditorium to accommodate the large crowds. Affirmed Committee Chair Carl Stokes,

We are not going to vote tonight. We are not going to vote next week.

Public testimony covered topics such as affordable housing, jobs, labor negotiations and profit sharing. The Baltimore Business Journal reports,

Much of the testimony centered on requests to strengthen the legislation to include citywide community benefits and job guarantees as well as a better understanding of the complex and lengthy 535-page TIF application.

Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank owns Sagamore Development, which is requesting the $660 million TIF to support its Port Covington development.  The 266-acre, $5.5 billion redevelopment in South Baltimore will hold Under Armour’s new corporate headquarters. Plans include:

  • 5.5 million square feet of office space,
  • about 14,000 residential units,
  • retail space,
  • two hotels,
  • 40 acres of parks,
  • 17 new streets,
  • an internal trolley system, and
  • Maryland Transit Administration Light Rail extension.

Sagamore Development Vice President Caroline Paff reported that the project will spur 42,000 jobs over 25 years and then install 25,000 permanent jobs at the site. Paff testified,

Under Armour has aggressive growth plans. And it’s either grow here or grow somewhere else. All of us want that growth right here in Baltimore City … We are asking for $535 million to help leverage a $5.5 billion deal — without anything else, that’s a good deal.

Chair Stokes announced that the hearing will resume on August 3 at 5 pm.