MOU Promises Communities $100 Million For Port Covington

Sagamore Development and the City of Baltimore have penned a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) providing for the developer’s $100 million investment in community benefits in exchange for its $660 million tax increment financing (TIF) proposal, reports the Baltimore Business Journal. The public is expected to have access to the MOU tomorrow, three hours before the Baltimore City Council Taxation, Finance and Economic Development Committee holds a work session on the TIF package, beginning at 5 pm at the War Memorial Building. A press conference on the MOU takes place tomorrow at 1 pm at City Garage, a facility owned by Sagamore Development in South Baltimore.

Sagamore is requesting the TIF to support its $5.5 billion project at Port Covington. Among the highlights of the MOU are:

  • a $25 million pledge to fund workforce development programs in Baltimore
  • a $10 million donation to fund creation of a small business loan program
  • reiteration of a $39 million commitment made in July to six South Baltimore communities by Sagamore Development, including a $5 million cash infusion in the neighborhoods that surround Port Covington
  • A local hiring mandate of 30 percent of all workers from Baltimore City
  • A $23 minimum wage agreement on the first $50 million of construction at Port Covington

Reports the Baltimore Business Journal:

The deal was reached over the past two weeks during closed negotiation sessions between city leaders, community advocates and the developer following four contentious public hearings and work sessions on legislation to establish the TIF.

The updated inclusionary housing agreement includes a mandate to provide 20 percent of Port Covington’s residential units for low-income residents.

Today’s MOU announcement comes on the same day that Under Armour Founder, Chairman and CEO Kevin Plank published an open letter in the Baltimore Sun (page 8) making the case for the Port Covington project. He writes,

We are at a decision point. We want to invest in Baltimore, hire in Baltimore, live in Baltimore, and give in Baltimore. I hope that you agree that we have a special opportunity here. I hope that the City Council will review and approve the TIF, to make this all possible for our city.