Under Armour received city Planning Commission approval Thursday to pursue waterfront improvement projects near its Locust Point headquarters with the help of tax-increment financing.

The commission voted to expand the district in Locust Point, where the city currently has authority to sell tax-increment financing bonds to pay for public improvements. The district would be expanded to include an Under Armour facility that the company renovated for an estimated $14.2 million in 2009. It is across from the company's Tide Point office complex.

The Baltimore-based sports apparel company, the biggest landowner in Locust Point, hopes to complete some of the waterfront projects in time for next year's bicentennial celebration of the War of 1812, said Mark Pollak, an attorney for Under Armour.

Projects in the planning stages include a community pier at the end of Hull Street, bulkhead improvements, a "green way" that would connect Key Highway to Fort Avenue and Fort McHenry, and a pedestrian bridge over CSX railroad tracks, said Robert M. Quilter, a design planner with the city's planning department.

Pollak said the company hoped that a "significant amount" of the work could be done in 2012.

Under Armour hopes to start the projects as soon as financing and approvals are in place, Pollak said, though the Planning Commission's approval is only the first step in a process that requires additional legislation and the City Council's OK.

Tax-increment financing allows developers to pay property taxes on the value of property before improvements and enables the city to borrow money based on projected increases in taxes.

Last month, Under Armour said it hoped to double the size of its headquarters to accommodate additional employees, a retail store and a company museum.

The company plans to build an additional 400,000 square feet at Tide Point, where it leased space before purchasing the complex earlier this year.

Lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com

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