St. Mary’s Moves Forward with Plans for Innovation District

St Mary’s County recently announced an agreement with Torti Gallas + Partners (TG+P) to create the Innovation District Master Plan for the St. Mary’s County Regional Airport and surrounding properties. An Innovation District is a geographic area where anchor institutions and companies cluster and connect with small firms, start-ups, business incubators, accelerators.

St. Mary’s County Regional Airport and its surrounding areas have undergone a transformation in recent years due to increased investment and interest by the private sector, the State of Maryland, the Federal Aviation Administration, the US Navy, and St. Mary’s County Government.

“The momentum at the airport has been the result of a public-private partnership. We envision this next step to create a vision amongst property owners, residents, our higher education institutions and others. At the end of the day, we want different types of people and their ideas to converge because that’s how you build even more innovation,” said Chris Kaselemis, Director of the Department of Economic Development.

According to a press release:

“Real estate market trends are changing the way we do business. As a result, technology centers are re-positioning themselves for the next 50-years to be competitive, attract the best and brightest, and facilitate collaboration and a cross pollination of ideas leading to increased innovation. We are excited to work with the St. Mary’s partners to help create an Innovation District Master Plan that helps unlock the full potential of existing key assets and to increase its competitiveness for talent,” said Erik Aulestia, Partner at Torti Gallas + Partners.

“St. Mary’s County Regional Airport is not only the State’s fastest growing general aviation airport, it’s also become the place where aviation and technology companies have clustered. Businesses and higher education want to be there,” said Ken Reed of S. Hunt Aero, a real estate development company that has invested heavily in the airport.

Along with analysis, research, and planning, TG+P will hold multiple stakeholder meetings and community meetings to gather data and input from property owners, business owners, developers, residents, and academic institutions. The final deliverable will be a Master Plan and a shared vision that will help the County and its partners connect the innovation district components, develop gathering places, and plan for future economic growth.

The Innovation District designation will align stakeholder visions for the area, ensuring multimodal transportation options that are important for businesses and quality of life, as well as suggestions for gathering places and future manufacturing and office buildings. The designation will also help St. Mary’s County and Southern Maryland showcase itself as a center of innovation, especially in the unmanned and autonomy industries, and compete with more urban areas for businesses and talent

The St. Mary’s Department of Economic Development, in collaboration with County’s Land Use and Growth Management Department, and Department of Public Work and Transportation, worked with the Calvert-St. Mary’s Metropolitan Planning Organization to issue a request for proposal to create a vision and master plan for the innovation district.

Read the full press release for more information.