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A New Canvas for Baltimore: State Funds Revitalize Vacant Historic Structure and Bring New Jobs to Baltimore

projectcorelogoIn the coming months, Baltimore’s University of Maryland BioPark will add another tenant. The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development provided $250,000 in Strategic Demolition Funds, $4.2 million in New Markets Tax Credits and a $1,080,000 loan from Neighborhood BusinessWorks, for the renovation and repurposing of the historic Lion Brothers Building in the Hollins Market neighborhood. The building, being redeveloped by Cross Street Partners, represents an important step toward Baltimore’s revitalization.

Some portions of the complex were first built in 1886 and originally used as a livery stable. Following a large fire that swept Baltimore in 1904, the Lion Brothers Company moved into the location as a textile and garments factory. Upon leaving the site in 1958, the Lion Brothers Company was the world’s largest manufacturer of embroidered emblems, serving such nationally-known clients as NASA, the Boy Scouts of America and the U.S. military. The building has been vacant since 2002.

Upon completion, a number of complementary organizations will occupy the building, including Enterprise Community Partners, Baltimore Community Lending, and the University of Maryland Baltimore County’s digital arts graduate program. Cross Street Partners will also establish its offices there. As a result of this project, 100 temporary construction jobs were created at a living wage. In addition, Cross Street Partners was able to add 37 new full-time employees and retain 86 full-time employees and two part-time employees. Currently, the BioPark hosts around 800 employees; additional jobs created by tenants in the Lions Brothers Building are expected when construction is complete.

“A New Canvas for Baltimore” is a regular series covering Project C.O.R.E. (Creating Opportunities for Renewal and Enterprise). Project C.O.R.E. will clear the way for new green space, new affordable and mixed use housing, and new opportunities for small business owners in Baltimore City. The initiative will generate jobs, strengthen the partnership between the City of Baltimore and the State of Maryland and lead to safer, healthier and more attractive communities. For more information on Project C.O.R.E., visit http://dhcd.maryland.gov/ProjectCORE/.



Capital Costs at an All-Time Low for Local Government Infrastructure Financing Program

Capital Costs at an All-Time Low for Local Government Infrastructure Financing Program

Program offers financing options for local government projects,
such as youth counseling centers and police stations

NEW CARROLLTON, Md. (September 27, 2016) – The latest round of bonds issued through the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development’s Local Government Infrastructure Financing program had the lowest capital cost in its 28 year operating history. This indicates that interest rates are hitting historic lows, and demonstrates the current financial mechanism and approach the agency utilizes to raise capital for Maryland’s local governments works well and achieves excellent results.

Centreville, District Heights, Havre de Grace, Laurel, Manchester and Perryville were the beneficiaries of the latest financing. Fourteen distinct projects were funded totaling more than $25 million. By comparison, in 2015, 10 projects worth nearly $19 million were financed.

The LGIF program provides an efficient and economical means of access to capital markets in order to fund infrastructure projects for eligible local governments. The loans offer attractive rates and flexible terms. The program generates savings in the costs of borrowing by pooling the local demand and managing the bond issue. The department also offers expertise and resources, including bond counsel and a financial advisor, to help local governments navigate successfully through the complexities of bond financing.

Although the program is frequently used for projects like streetscape improvements, transportation enhancements, and water and sewer treatment facilities, it is not limited to work of this nature. In Harford County, $2,100,000 will be used to assist with renovations to the Havre de Grace Opera House, a staple of the county’s arts community since 1871. In Cecil County, Perryville received $2,500,000 for the construction of a new police station. The town of District Heights in Prince George’s County received $2,360,000 and $1,840,000 to fund the construction of a senior center and a youth counseling center, respectively.

“Infrastructure is the backbone that supports every community,” said Secretary Kenneth C. Holt. “The department is proud to provide cost-effective assistance for these projects in Maryland communities This is an impressive accomplishment — we’ve minimized costs while maximizing aid.”

For more information on the LGIF program, visit http://dhcd.maryland.gov/Communities/Pages/lgif/default.aspx.
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CONTACT: Sara Luell, Director of Communications, sara.luell@maryland.gov



A New Canvas for Baltimore: First Round of Project C.O.R.E. Applications Received

 

projectcorelogo

The astounding response to the initial request for applications for the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development’s Project C.O.R.E. initiative is a positive sign for the program’s future. Project C.O.R.E. (Creating Opportunities for Renewal and Enterprise) targets investment in Baltimore City neighborhoods that have been hardest hit by blight and disinvestment.

Since launching Project C.O.R.E. in January 2016, the department has actively engaged community organizations to strengthen partnerships and identify their particular needs. The department is also soliciting community input on providing access to jobs from C.O.R.E. investments.

As a result of its community outreach and collaboration, the department drafted a Request for Applications for the public and private sectors to secure blight removal funding. As of the August 19 application deadline, it had received applications from 36 different organizations for 76 projects requesting more than $76.7 million – well beyond the allotted funding for FY 2017. If the department were capable of funding all project requests, $76.7 million would leverage total project costs of nearly $343.7 million.

Awardees will be announced before the end of the year. Awards will be based upon readiness to proceed, community need, catalyzing new investment, and cost effectiveness.

The department received more applications than expected, featuring a range of project ideas, from mixed-income and mixed-use developments to affordable housing projects. Assistant Secretary for the Division of Neighborhood Revitalization Carol Gilbert, who oversees the Project C.O.R.E. funding team, is “very excited” about the quality of the applications.

“This is a very good sign of Project C.O.R.E.’s potential to have a transformative effect on Baltimore neighborhoods,” Gilbert said.

“A New Canvas for Baltimore” is a regular series covering Project C.O.R.E. (Creating Opportunities for Renewal and Enterprise). Project C.O.R.E. will clear the way for new green space, new affordable and mixed use housing, and new opportunities for small business owners in Baltimore City. The initiative will generate jobs, strengthen the partnership between the City of Baltimore and the State of Maryland and lead to safer, healthier and more attractive communities. For more information on Project C.O.R.E., visit http://dhcd.maryland.gov/ProjectCORE/.



Multifamily Housing Programs Enjoy Landmark Year

For the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development’s multifamily programs, the 2016 fiscal year was the most productive. These programs provide low income housing credits, gap funding for affordable housing projects, and grant funding for shelters and transitional housing facilities.

The department closed on 44 projects during fiscal year 2016, producing a total of 4,674 new units across the state. The largest of those was a 500-unit development located in Prince George’s County. These new units were established in 12 counties and Baltimore City. The projects also created 4,591 jobs associated with their development and maintenance, and cost nearly $917 million. The amount of projects closed rose 46 percent in fiscal year 2016 while job growth for these projects grew 60 percent.

“That’s a phenomenal amount of work to do in a 12-month period,” said Elaine Cornick, the director of multifamily programs. Cornick added that it’s the most she’s seen closed during her time with the department. “It’s a true testament to the professionalism of our underwriting and construction staff, along with [Community Development Administration] Finance and the office of the Attorney General. Without them, this could not have moved forward.”

Cornick also credited developers across the state for their work on these projects, along with other public entities like Baltimore City, which were critical in aiding Rental Assistance Development projects. The department closed 11 of those projects in the last year.

“Everything aligned well,” Cornick said. “To accomplish this in a year is just amazing.”



Hogan Administration Proposes $5 Million in Funding to Assist Ellicott City

Read the press release at: http://governor.maryland.gov/2016/08/17/hogan-administration-proposes-5-million-in-funding-to-assist-ellicott-city/.



Community Services Block Grant Program Draft Plan Open for Public Comment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NEW CARROLLTON, Md. (August 15, 2016) – The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development is announcing the state’s draft plan for the distribution of approximately $9.7 million in federal funds under the Community Services Block Grant Program for federal fiscal year 2017.

The block grant funds, originally authorized under the Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981, will be distributed to local agencies across the state to finance numerous programs for low-income persons. Per federal statute, 90 percent of the funds will be distributed to local community action agencies throughout Maryland.

“The Community Action Agencies are the frontline providers of assistance to low-income families across the state, providing a wide range of services,” said Secretary Kenneth C. Holt.

Originally part of the nation’s War on Poverty, the community action agencies have used federal funds since 1964 to develop programs designed to ameliorate the causes of poverty in local areas. In Maryland, these programs have included Head Start educational centers of young children; health, employment, housing and weatherization programs for adults; and other special programs for young persons and the elderly.

The department will hold a public hearing on Thursday, August 18, 2016, at 10 a.m. at the Maryland Department of Transportation, 7201 Corporate Center Drive, Hanover, Maryland. Copies of the plan are available for review at 7800 Harkins Rd, Lanham, Maryland, or here. Persons wishing to provide written comment on the state plan may do so by sending a letter addressed to Michelle Bass, Project Manager, Office of Community Programs, Department of Housing and Community Development, 7800 Harkins Road, MD, 20706, or via email at michelle.bass@maryland.gov. All comments must be received by close of business on Friday, August 26, 2016.

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CONTACT: Sara Luell, Director of Communications, sara.luell@maryland.gov, 301-429-7803



Mount Rainier Groundbreaking Sets Path for Future Growth

rainierMOUNT RAINIER, Md. (August 15, 2016) – An August 1 groundbreaking kicked off redevelopment efforts in Mount Rainier. The redevelopment of the 3300 block of Rhode Island Avenue will restore three historic buildings that have been vacant for 10 to 25 years. These buildings, located in the heart of Mount Rainier, will create housing on the upper floors and retail space on the ground floors. The project brings together a vibrant mix of uses that activates the commercial core of Mount Rainier.

The redevelopment project encompasses three buildings: 3300 Rhode Island, 3308 Rhode Island and 3310 Rhode Island. 3300 and 3308 Rhode Island Avenue will contain 11 residential apartments on the upper floors and a 6,800 square foot hardware store on the ground floor. The apartment mix consists of two studio, seven one-bedroom and two two-bedroom apartments. 3310 Rhode Island Avenue will contain a 1,600 square foot café/restaurant. The project will be designed and certified to meet LEED Silver standards. The project is scheduled for completion in July 2017.

The economic impact is noteworthy; the project is anticipated to create 22 construction jobs, 38 permanent jobs and bring 11 new households to the area. The project is expected to generate more than $3.5 million in tax revenue over the first 10 years of operation.

The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development helped finance a portion of the acquisition costs with $475,000 from its Strategic Demolition Fund program. The total acquisition cost of the three buildings was $1.08 million. The total development costs of the project are $4.58 million.

The Strategic Demolition Fund program played a critical role in the project by providing financial assistance to the Redevelopment Authority of Prince George’s County to complete site assembly on the project. The Redevelopment Authority of Prince George’s County selected the Menkiti Group as the primary developer on the project.

The Strategic Demolition Fund is a state-funded program that provides local and county governments and community development organizations with financial assistance for projects aimed at accelerating economic development and job production in existing Maryland communities. Eligible activities of the Strategic Demolition Fund program include demolition of derelict non-contributing structures, site acquisition and assembly to create redevelopment-sized parcels for solicitation or planned development, site development, and construction-level architectural and engineering designs.

Additional financing for the project came from the Redevelopment Authority of Prince George’s County and Sandy Spring Bank.



Waverly Main Street Announces Main Street Hats Grand Reopening

20160801_143938On Saturday, August 13, Baltimore’s Waverly Main Street will celebrate the grand reopening of Main Street Hats. With partner support and funding, more than $40,000 worth of interior and exterior improvements have been completed. The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development awarded more than $6,000 through the Baltimore Regional Neighborhood Initiative, which focuses on areas in the Baltimore region where modest investment and a coordinated strategy can have an appreciable neighborhood revitalization impact.

Design services were provided by Gensler and Associates, and construction services were provided by Rebuilding Together Baltimore and Second Century Homes. Other funding sources include $5,000 from Johns Hopkins University, $20,000 from Baltimore Development Corporation and $10,000 from Wells Fargo.

Main Street Hats’ reopening represents the positive effect collaborative funding and initiatives can have on our small businesses and communities in Maryland. Waverly Main Street would like to invite everyone to the ribbon cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. on August 13 at Main Street Hats, located at 3019 Greenmount Avenue. The event is free to the public.



Maryland Town Manager Circuit Rider Grant Program Expands

The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development has significantly expanded the Maryland Town Manager Circuit Rider Grant, a program that enables smaller municipalities to hire professional staff to assist with public administration, financial management, planning, and community development. Typically operating in rural regions of Maryland, these professional administrators “Ride Circuit” by serving several towns in the same area on a part-time basis. Plans to expand the program were developed after the Maryland General Assembly increased the program’s annual budget from $125,000 to $500,000 with approval from the Maryland General Assembly.

Under the Maryland Town Manager Circuit Rider Grant program, municipalities, counties, and regional governmental organizations can partner together to sponsor a circuit and hire professional staff who serve two or more towns. The department assists the local governments that are applying for  program funding by developing a work program for the Circuit Rider, preparing the grant application and budget, and recruiting and interviewing the candidates for the position. Once hired, the Circuit Rider professionals provide the town with administrative services, such as reviewing and updating town ordinances, drafting and submitting grant applications, recordkeeping, responding to public inquiries on behalf of town officials, assisting with the construction and maintenance of water and wastewater management systems, and developing sustainable community and other revitalization plans.

Traditionally, the Maryland Town Manager Circuit Rider Grant program funded two circuits annually. The Garrett County Community Action Agency received funding to sponsor a circuit in the county that includes the towns of Accident, Deer Park, Friendsville, Grantsville, Kitzmiller, Loch Lynn Heights, Mountain Lake Park and Oakland. The Maryland Rural Development Corporation received funding to sponsor a circuit within multiple Eastern Shore counties that includes the towns of Barclay in Queen Anne’s County, Betterton in Kent County, Brookview, Church Creek, Eldorado and Galestown  in Dorchester County, and Goldsboro, and Henderson in Caroline County.  Both circuits will continue to receive funding until the current grant agreements expire in June 2017, When the current grant expires, the circuit sponsors will be required to reapply for a new grant.

Four new circuits were approved under the program’s expansion. The Board of County Commissioners of Caroline County will sponsor a circuit in the county that includes the towns of Goldsboro, Henderson, Hillsboro, Marydel and Templeville. Pocomoke City in Worcester County will sponsor a circuit that includes the municipality as well as the City of Crisfield in Somerset County. The Town of North Beach will sponsor a circuit that includes the Calvert County town and the Town of Forest Heights in Prince George’s County. The Maryland Rural Development Corporation will sponsor its second circuit which will serve the western Maryland towns of Lonaconing, Luke and Westernport in Allegany County and Hancock and Williamsport in Washington County. Grant terms for the new circuits are two years, expiring in June 2018.

For more information about the Maryland Town Manager Circuit Rider Grant program, visit http://bit.ly/CrctRdr.



Programs Available for Ellicott City Flood Disaster

During the July 30 flash floods, downtown Ellicott City sustained severe damage to its historic Main Street. Despite the severity, the residents of Howard County have shown a profound level of strength and perseverance during this catastrophic time. To assist with the recovery, the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development has several programs available to assist the affected businesses and residents.

Ellicott City has requested funding for façade improvement through the Community Legacy Program, and the department will work with the city in order to increase funding based on damage assessments. Additionally, the department will extend Ellicott City’s application deadline for the Strategic Demolition Fund to enable assistance if needed for this program.

“Our department has a long and successful history of partnership with Ellicott City, particularly through our neighborhood revitalization programs,” said Secretary Kenneth C. Holt. “We will continue to strengthen this partnership as we work together to support business owners and residents during their recovery efforts in the wake of this tragic disaster.”

In addition to Community Legacy funds, the department is offering assistance through its Disaster Relief Housing Program, WholeHome (Maryland Housing Rehabilitation Program), Maryland Disaster Housing Assistance Program, Strategic Demolition Fund, Main Street Maryland, and Maryland Business Recovery.

For more information on available assistance, visit http://dhcd.maryland.gov/Communities/Pages/Ellicott-City-Recovery.aspx.



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