City panel approves Morgan Stanley loan forgiveness plan

A decade-old loan forgiveness program with Morgan Stanley will move forward Wednesday after Baltimore's spending panel agreed to give the company more time to meet its job-creation goals.

The Board of Estimates, controlled by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, approved modifications to the plan without discussion. The city and the New York-based investment bank agreed in 2003 to expand an operations center in Baltimore based on economic development incentives.

The city agreed to loan the company $3.25 million — half of which could be forgiven — on the condition that Morgan Stanley created 1,500 jobs by 2018. The company still expects to meet that goal, but the modifications allow Morgan Stanley more time to phase in the jobs without risking financial penalty.

So far, Morgan Stanley employs 850 people at the Thames Street Wharf.

The mayor said Baltimore competed with other cities to win the Morgan Stanley expansion, and continuing to work with the company on job creation is prudent.

"It was a tough competition in 2002," Rawlings-Blake said. "It was down to Baltimore and Pittsburgh. … I also understand what this means when it comes to jobs and the future for the city. I support the extension. I support the work that they're doing."

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