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Baltimore spending panel authorizes more work at Harbor Point development

For the second time in three months, Baltimore's spending panel has authorized more work on the $1 billion Harbor Point development near Harbor East.

The Board of Estimates on Wednesday voted to enter into a deal with Harbor Point's developer, Michael S. Beatty, to install "various utilities and landscaping" for a "new mixed use development in the vicinity of 1000 Wills Street and 900 South Caroline Street" on the waterfront site.

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The developers are assuming "100% of the financial responsibility" for the work and have purchased a $1 million performance bond that would allow the city to finish the work if it's not done properly, according to the city.

In March the board, which is controlled by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, dedicated $500,000 to build a "force main" sewer pipe on Caroline Street — also for the Harbor Point development. The $500,000 came from the Department of Public Works' wastewater utility fund, which is funded by residents' water bills.

"Installation of the Force Main is crucial to the development of the next phases of the Harbor Point Project beyond the completion of the Exelon Building," the board's agenda stated.

The cost of the main is $1.5 million — $1 million of which comes from the $107 million in tax-increment-financing bonds the Baltimore City Council in 2013 voted to authorize to help build infrastructure for the glittering waterfront development.

Marco Greenberg, vice president at Beatty Development Group, LLC, said the developers needed $500,000 more to cover the cost of the main because the work stretched outside of the project's special taxing district. He said the new main would help cut down on sewage overflows into the harbor.

The project's signature skyscraper is the new regional headquarters for the energy giant Exelon. The Harbor Point development will also be home to a Morgan Stanley facility, other office buildings, residential towers, parks, stores and a hotel, officials say.

In tax increment financing deals, the bond sale proceeds are used to improve infrastructure in a special tax district, and future property taxes generated by the development are used to pay off the bonds.

The largest special tax deal in Baltimore's history — a proposal for $535 million in bonds for Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank's Port Covington development — is currently under consideration by the city.

This post has been updated to correct the details of the performance bond.

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