Governor Reaffirms Commitment to State Center Redevelopment, Study Concludes Strong Potential for Retail, Housing, Grocery Store, Schools, and Office Space
Governor Larry Hogan today announced the completion of the Baltimore State Center Site Alternative Land Use Study conducted by the Maryland Stadium Authority (MSA). State Center is a government complex in Midtown Baltimore that has been set for redevelopment for more than a decade. Since taking office, the governor has aggressively advocated and pushed for progress on this long-delayed project. The former developers of this project, who have since legally forfeited any right to develop this site, have continued to pursue excessive financial demands, totaling more than $100 million, for their failed development concept.
“Since day one, our administration has been committed to the development of State Center,” said Governor Hogan. “Unfortunately, our repeated efforts to get this project off of the ground have been delayed by a group of developers who have sought to force the state to pay outrageous sums for leases that weren’t executed and who have failed in their commitments to the state, and more importantly, the citizens of Baltimore City. We remain fully committed to working with Mayor Pugh and community stakeholders to bring the full potential of this project to fruition.”
As was detailed at a meeting of the Board of Public Works (BPW) in December 2016, the state’s longtime real estate consultant advised that the proposed State Center development leases would be characterized as capital leases, which the BPW could not legally approve without prior authorization from the legislature. As capital leases, they would have counted towards the state’s debt affordability, very likely breaching the debt ceiling and jeopardizing Maryland’s coveted AAA bond rating. The legislature’s budget committees have raised these same concerns over the past several years.
The BPW, which is comprised of the governor, Comptroller Peter Franchot, and Treasurer Nancy Kopp, then voted unanimously to reject these leases, and the state filed a lawsuit seeking to end the state’s contractual relationship with these developers.
Following the unanimous and bipartisan vote by the BPW, Governor Hogan immediately directed the MSA to conduct a study regarding all potential uses for the State Center site. The focus of the study included evaluation of various potential future land uses, including analysis of demographic and socioeconomic data, residential market and affordable housing, commuting patterns, existing and future inventory of space, building permits, office and commercial vacancy rates, and tax incentives for development. Additionally, case studies in markets with similar urban settings were conducted.
Ultimately, the Baltimore State Center Site Alternative Land Use Study concludes that the site has strong development potential for many uses, which are listed beginning on page 92 of the study.
“This study has reinforced our long-held position that the State Center site has an enormous amount of potential for redevelopment,” said the governor. “With possibilities like retail and food services, schools, government offices, and housing, this site would have a transformational and lasting impact for Baltimore City and its citizens.”