Currently, the State Center Complex houses over 3,000 state employees, 12 agencies, and oversees many of the state’s governmental functions.
At the August 31 Board of Public Works (BPW) meeting, Lieutenant Governor Boyd K. Rutherford announced that the State of Maryland plans to transfer the State Center Complex to Baltimore City for future redevelopment as it sees fit. The State Center Complex is a 28 acre development near Eutaw Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard near Midtown.
The transfer of the property is the latest step in a State plan announced in April of 2021 to move 3,300 state employees from 12 different agencies to downtown Baltimore. During the 2021 session, a supplemental budget included $50 million to support the effort.
The State will reclassify the property as a “surplus,” and the move is expected to help supplement revitalization efforts in the City’s Central Business District.
“It is our intention, once all state agencies have vacated State Center, to turn the property over to the City of Baltimore, so its citizens and elected representatives can determine the best use of the site,” said Lt. Governor Rutherford. “Surplussing the State Center campus to Baltimore City will create more opportunities for the residents of Baltimore.” He also commented on the project’s timeline on Twitter, saying that, “Once all state agencies have vacated State Center, we will turn the property over to the city, so its citizens and elected representatives can determine the best use of the site. ”
Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott also reflected on the announcement:
“The surrounding communities and the entire city deserve a State Center site that lives up to its full potential. My administration will work with this Governor, the next governor, the surrounding communities and their elected leaders to develop a plan for the site that we can all be proud of — a plan that fits into our shared vision for Baltimore’s renaissance. There are of course a lot of details that need to be worked out, including how to fund the demolition and remediation necessary to put this site back into productive use.”
The State Center Complex announcement follows a recent ruling in the Circuit Court of Baltimore City that affirmed that BPW was within its authority to terminate and rescind previous leases for the complex. The Court found that the leases were not enforceable against the state. The Baltimore Sun explained that case and how it slowed the Complex’s redevelopment:
A series of lawsuits waged by developers contracted under Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley slowed the complex’s redevelopment process after the Board of Public Works voted to invalidate their leases. Tuesday’s announcement follows a recent Baltimore City Circuit Court decision confirming that the Board of Public Works was within its right to terminate leases granted to developers under O’Malley.