Yesterday, Sagamore Development, the team behind the proposed 260-acre Port Covington Master Plan, reached a community benefits agreement with the South Baltimore Six Coalition (SB6). SB6 is an organization that represents the South Baltimore communities south of Port Covington including Brooklyn, Cherry Hill, Curtis Bay, Lakeland, Mt. Winans, and Westport. The two organizations announced the agreement and signed the documents at an event at Cherry Hill Elementary.
Per a press release from the organizations, highlights of the partnership include:
- The SB6 Coalition and Sagamore Development have agreed to form a partnership that will create a long-term, sustainable financing entity (“New Entity”) to fund the short-term, on-going, and long-term community needs identified by the SB6 leadership.
- Sagamore and its affiliates will provide $10 million in baseline funding to support the operation of the New Entity over the next five years ($5 million in direct payments; $5 million in raised funds).
- Sagamore and the SB6 will also jointly endeavor to raise another $10 million during the subsequent 5 years.
- The New Entity will be sustained over the life of the TIF bonds by receiving a share of the funding stream sourced from an annual per square foot fee and a surcharge applied to transfers of real property in Port Covington. As agreed, at least two-thirds of the revenues generated through these annual fees and surcharges will be devoted to funding the priorities of the SB6 communities. It is expected this will generate more than $19 million to SB6 over the first 20 years of the development. The remaining balance will fund other city-wide initiatives, and programs focused on education, workforce development and youth empowerment.
- In addition, SDC has agreed that it will: be an advocate for SB6 Communities for city services, business and cultural attractions, and funding from public and private entities; as well as provide technical assistance on a variety of housing, economic development and community revitalization issues. While difficult to place a value on all of this, these commitments will yield the most to the SB6 communities and will, in and of themselves, equal and yield millions of dollars of time, expertise, funding and community productivity.Sagamore Development’s partnership with the SB6 Coalition builds on several agreements Sagamore entered into earlier this year with the City of Baltimore. In April 2016, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced several commitments by Sagamore related to contractor diversity, local hiring and inclusionary housing. Among the commitments signed in April, Sagamore agreed to provide more than $10 million over five years to fund citywide programs related to youth, education, and empowerment.
Michael Middleton, chairman of the Cherry Hill Community Coalition and spokesperson for the SB6 Coalition, said Sagamore has been a full partner with the SB6 communities since it first announced plans to redevelop Port Covington.
“We’re proud to be here today with Sagamore to announce this unprecedented long-term investment partnership and community benefits agreement,” said Middleton in the press release. “As the most immediate neighbors of Port Covington, we will be the most impacted by this redevelopment and we have been working closely with the Sagamore team for months. We are excited about this long-term partnership. I can tell you, I’ve never seen before this type of commitment and dedication from a developer to working with our communities. This community benefits agreement ensures that Port Covington’s closest neighbors – Cherry Hill, Curtis Bay, Lakeland, Mt. Winans, and Westport – will be partners in its success and share in its long-term prosperity and economic future.”
At the event Middleton noted this is the first time these six communities have come together.
Later in the day, Ann Robinson of Mt. Winans Community Association told the Baltimore City Planning Commission that the two groups worked hard to make this agreement a reality and that she was proud to be a part of it.
Andrea Mayer of the Corporation of Concerned Citizens for a Better Brooklyn told the planning commission her neighborhood struggles with violence, prostitution, vacant properties, and closed businesses. “We have felt abandoned, but not anymore,” she said.
SB6 was represented in negotiations pro bono by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
“Our focus in Port Covington and in all of our other businesses and philanthropic initiatives has been investing in a brighter future for Baltimore” said Tom Geddes, CEO of Plank Industries, the parent company of Sagamore Development, in the press release. “We are committed to making investments that will truly make a difference. Working closely as partners with our neighboring communities, through months of productive discussions and dialogue, we have created a long-term community benefits agreement that will endure for decades. This will ensure that residents in the SB6 neighborhoods will share in the success of Port Covington for years to come.”
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake called it an amazing day for Baltimore and said it is a “historic agreement” that other communities around the country can model.
District 46 Senator Bill Ferguson described the agreement as “truly, truly something special.” He also praised the hardwork of the members of SB6 who were sitting in the first row, “there are a lot of armchair naysayers in the city, but not the people in the first row.”
The Port Covington development plan includes Under Armour’s 50-acre, 3.9 million sq. ft. global headquarters; 1,500,000 sq. ft. of destination, attraction, entertainment and specialty retail; more than 7,500 residential units, including rental and for-sale properties at various price-points; 500,000 sq. ft. of “maker” and industrial/light manufacturing space; 200-plus hotel rooms; 1,500,000 sq. ft. of office space (in addition to the Under Armour Global Headquarters); and civic and cultural uses including 40-plus acres of public parks, a public waterfront, and other public facilities. Sagamore currently owns 161 acres of land in Port Covington, which it described as 85% of the private parcels in the area, from recent real estate acquisitions totaling $114 million.
The Port Covington Master Plan recently received approval from the Baltimore City Planning Commission, and the infrastructure and parks financing plan, which includes Tax Increment Financing bonds, recently received the recommendation of the Commission. That plan now needs approval by the Baltimore City Council.
Sagamore Development President Marc Weller said he hopes infrastructure improvements start in mid-2017, pad site development begins in mid-2018, and vertical real estate development begins in mid-2019.
Rendering Courtesy of Sagamore Development