Howard County Is Revitalizing the Route 1 Corridor… One Tax Credit at a Time

In fiscal 2023, the program increased outreach to Route 1 property owners and allocated its max allowance of $250,000, helping transform five properties along the corridor.

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced applications are now being accepted for the County’s latest round of its transformational Route 1 Tax Credit Program, which encourages revitalization along the Route 1 corridor by helping owners of commercial and industrial properties with renovation and beautification projects.

Photo courtesy of Howard County Government.

Overseen by the County’s Department of Planning and Zoning (DPZ) and in coordination with the Howard County Economic Development Authority (HCEDA), the program offers up to $100,000 in funding per site to eligible commercial and industrial property owners along the Route 1 Corridor. To date, the program has already supported 18 renovation projects.

“Thanks to a strong partnership between DPZ, HCEDA, and our commercial and industrial property owners who are willing to put in the work, the aesthetics of our Route 1 Corridor continue to improve,” said County Executive Calvin Ball. “This program is essential to improving the look, feel, and value of Route 1, and I am confident more property owners will join us in our mission to revitalize this important 12-mile stretch of Howard County.”

To qualify for the tax credit, a property must have frontage onto Route 1, be adjacent to a property with Route 1 frontage, or be within the perimeter of Map 20.129D (Elkridge). The property must also be less than 15 acres, be up to date on property tax payments, and have no existing code violations.

This newest application period follows a successful fiscal 2023 period, when the program’s maximum allowance of $250,000 was awarded to properties along the corridor, including Fleetpro, Galaxy Electronics, Napa Auto Parts, Amani Investments Group, and the Holiday Inn in Columbia-Jessup. Improvements include replacing missing signage with an LED lighted sign, replacing windows, new paint, revamping stucco, and installing new light fixtures for safety and enhanced ambiance.

According to Howard County, DPZ and HCEDA will continue to work with stakeholders and potential applicants to understand better and respond to the corridor’s challenges, educate potential property owners about the tax credit program, and create a strategy for property owners to achieve the renovations that will enhance the appearance of their properties.

Commercial and industrial property owners interested in renovating the exterior of their property can visit the Route 1 Tax Credit Program website to learn more about the program and how to apply. Applications are accepted on a non-competitive, first-come, first-served basis.