The Baltimore City Council passed a bill Thursday backed by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to make 10 years of tax credits available citywide for developers of apartments.

The council amended the legislation to include developers who renovate apartments as well as those who build new structures.

"Expansion of the current apartment tax credit program continues to move us in the right direction by encouraging investment that supports neighborhoods, promotes historic preservation and generates millions of additional dollars for the city," Rawlings-Blake said in a statement.

The 10-year credit program will provide an 80 percent property tax break for its first five years before gradually decreasing to 30 percent by the 10th year. The credits will apply to any developer who builds at least 20 market-rate rental residential units that support "neighborhood characteristics" and "historic preservation," the mayor's office said.

The bill would expand an existing 15-year tax credit program for apartments already in place for eight targeted areas of the city. The 15-year credits will still apply for those areas, while the rest of the city will be eligible for the 10-year credits, the mayor's office said.

lbroadwater@baltsun.com

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