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Frederick site among 'BRAC Zones'

December 15, 2008

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown announced Monday five areas where the state will encourage economic development amid growth expected from U.S. military agencies and units moving to Maryland.

The state is trying to prepare for tens of thousands of jobs slated to arrive in the state over the next several years due to decisions made the federal Defense Base Realignment and Closure Commission to consolidate military operations. Brown is the leader of Maryland's BRAC preparation effort.

Under the so-called "BRAC Zones" plan, the state will provide tax credits to encourage development in the areas, which state officials believe are best suited to accommodate BRAC-related growth. Local jurisdictions and businesses will receive priority consideration for financing assistance for projects from state agencies.

The General Assembly approved the idea of creating BRAC zones, capping the amount at $5 million total per year for all zones. However, supporters of the plan say that money can be leveraged in capital markets for tens of millions of dollars for infrastructure financing.

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The five areas are the Westport waterfront area in Baltimore, an area near the MARC commuter rail station in Odenton in Anne Arundel County, land near Andrews Air Force Base at the Branch Avenue Metro Station in Prince George's County, an area in historic Frederick near the Frederick Transit Center and an area in the city of Laurel, along U.S. 1 and near the Laurel MARC station.

The designated areas will see the first benefit on July 1, 2011.

In Baltimore, the zone includes the Westport Waterfront development and improvements to Westport interchange on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. A 43-acre project is expected to create up 2 million square feet of office space, 300,000 square feet of retail space, 2,000 residential units and 500 hotel rooms. Construction is expected to begin in 2009.

In Anne Arundel County, the zone includes 777 acres near the MARC Odenton station and along Maryland 175.

The zone site near Andrews Air Force Base is on 655 acres and includes the Branch Avenue Metro Station and area commercial corridors.

The Frederick site includes 645 acres, including part of downtown Frederick, the Transit Center and Monocacy Boulevard, up to and including Research Park.

The Laurel site is on 293 acres that include the Laurel Commons Town Center, Hawthorne Place, a section of U.S. 1 and the city's Main Street area near the MARC station.

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