UPDATE #3: Mayoral candidate Jody Landers comments:
“I think this particular project makes sense given the need and the strong community support. I also think that the way the deal is structured makes sense in terms of protecting the city’s and the neighborhood’s long-term interests. As I understand it, the city will essentially hold a mortgage on the property with the payment and interest deferred. If the mortgage and/or interest is not paid, presumably the city can foreclose on the improved property and take it back. This is a better arrangement for the city than an annual tax abatement, because the city has no collateral to collect when taxes are forgiven and projects fail to live up to the conditions of the agreement. In this case the project will be paying property taxes.”
UPDATE #2: Mayoral candidate Otis Rolley’s comment:
“It is incredibly important that every neighborhood have access to fresh, quality food. But the best way to do that is not by providing project-by-project incentives, but rather by rebuilding neighborhoods. People won’t remain or move to neighborhoods just because there is a grocery store, but a grocery store will thrive if people live there. We need to focus on schools, crime and jobs, not special deals.”
UPDATE: Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said “we fought very hard for this day” as she and the Board of Estimates unanimously approved the ShopRite land deal struck with the Klein family.
The Baltimore Board of Estimates is expected today to defer until 2019 a $2 million payment for city land sold for a new Howard Park supermarket.
The city has reached an agreement with Klein’s Family Markets to build a ShopRite on the site of a former Super Pride store on the 4600 block of Liberty Heights Ave.
Under terms disclosed Monday, Klein’s Liberty Heights Shopping Center LLC won’t pay the $2 million purchase price for 5.6 acres of city land until the eighth-year anniversary of the settlement date. Interest payments would be deferred until 2116.
The city recently allotted $1,030,286 to prepare the site for the new supermarket (including demolishing the present Super Pride building) and $134,875 to help relocate the owner of an existing tavern. It has committed a further $500,000 for employee training.
The Baltimore Development Corp., which negotiated the deal, said the project would produce 150 construction-related jobs, 80 full-time store jobs and $310,000 in city taxes per year.
The abandoned Super Pride store has been a blight on the northwest Baltimore community for more than a decade. Luring a quality grocery store there has been a priority of the Rawlings-Blake administration.
The Klein family operates seven ShopRites in Maryland. At a meeting last Friday, Marshall Klein said the new store would be their largest and would include community meeting rooms, a nurse practitioner clinic, pharmacy and possibly a social services center.
The store is slated to open early in 2013.