The Baltimore Board of Finance today closed its monthly meeting to the press and public in order to discuss $35 million in tax increment financing for the proposed expansion of Under Armour’s Locust Point headquarters.
Steve Kraus, clerk of the board and chief of the city’s bureau of treasury management, invoked an exemption to Maryland’s Open Meetings Act that allows public meetings to be closed when disclosure of financial or proprietary information would injure a private party.
Kraus said today’s presentation to the board by the Baltimore Development Corp. (BDC) involved “issues related to financing sensitive in nature.”
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is backing a plan to use city TIF bonds to pay up to $35 million in infrastructure improvements in and around the Tide Point offices of the sports-apparel maker.
These would include a new athletic field for Under Armour employees and nearby residents, a biking and walking trail to connect Tide Point to Fort Avenue, relocating a syrup storage unit and upgrading streets, including an extension of Key Highway.
Under Armour proposes to build 550,000 square feet of new buildings as part of its expansion and create 617 jobs over the next nine years, according to an earlier presentation by the BDC.
Members of the finance board include City Comptroller Joan M. Pratt and Finance Director Harry E. Black, representing Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Both of them voted to close today’s meeting.
The board’s approval of TIF financing means that the proposal will go before the City Council.
Proposed Under Armour TIF financing violates city’s own guidelines