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The expansion of the parking lot of the Bel Air Auto Auction in Riverside is one of several properties being considered by the Harford County Council for enterprise zone tax credits for creating jobs and investing in their commercial and industrial facilities.
The expansion of the parking lot of the Bel Air Auto Auction in Riverside is one of several properties being considered by the Harford County Council for enterprise zone tax credits for creating jobs and investing in their commercial and industrial facilities. (Matt Button / Aegis Staff / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Nine resolutions are before the Harford County Council that, if approved, would certify that the owners and developers of those nine properties are eligible for enterprise zone tax credits for creating jobs and investing in their commercial and industrial facilities.

“This can help existing businesses to expand, or to attract new companies to invest and create jobs in areas that otherwise may not have [received] the investment,” Leonard Parrish, Harford County’s director of community and economic development, said Tuesday.

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Parrish, along with Deputy Director Steven Overbay, appeared before the council Tuesday evening, when members introduced the resolutions. Each resolution covers an individual property, for which the owners are seeking inclusion in the county’s Greater Aberdeen/Havre de Grace and the Edgewood/Joppa Enterprise Zones.

Eight of the properties are in Aberdeen, Havre de Grace, Belcamp and Riverside, putting them in the Aberdeen/Havre de Grace zone, and the ninth is in Joppa.

The projects include: two new hotels in Aberdeen, the La Quinta Inn & Suites on West Bel Air Avenue and the Fairfield Inn on Barnett Lane, which are expected to generate a combined 50 new jobs; the 42,000 square-foot Stadium Town Centre commercial development near Ripken Stadium; an expansion of the parking areas at the new Bel Air Auto Auction facility in Riverside; a 15,000 square-foot facility expansion by Chesapeake Spice Co. in Belcamp; and a new 25,000 square-foot office building in the Swan Creek Village Center off of Route 40 in Havre de Grace, which is expected to generate at least 30 new jobs, according to Parrish.

The two largest developments are the $23.6 million Aberdeen Logistics Center on Old Philadelphia Road, which includes a warehouse covering more than 500,000 square feet and is expected to bring more than 100 new jobs, as well as the $41.5 million, 1.04 million square-foot Building A warehouse, the last of three buildings in the Eastgate warehouse and distribution complex in Perryman near Aberdeen Proving Ground, which is expected to bring about 150 jobs.

Parrish noted that distribution centers offer management and technology jobs, in addition to entry-level warehouse jobs.

“This is especially true with the amount of artificial intelligence and technology being put in the [Aberdeen Logistics Center],” he said.

The final project is a $3 million, 10,000 square-foot building for Ferguson Enterprises in Joppa, which comes with an anticipated 14 new jobs, according to Parrish.

Enterprise zone applications must be approved by local authorities — Harford County Community and Economic Development, plus municipalities if the properties are within city or town boundaries — to ensure the developments are within the enterprise zones and they meet criteria for property and income tax credits administered by the state, Parrish said.

Several resolutions related to placing the Fairfield hotel, the logistics center and Stadium Town Centre in the enterprise zone were introduced during the Aberdeen City Council meeting Oct. 7. Mayor Patrick McGrady said they will be “ripe for action” at the next council meeting, scheduled for Oct. 28.

Developers can also seek SEED (Smart Energy for Economic Development) incentives through BGE, Parrish said. Those who qualify can earn discounts in their electric and natural gas charges as well as costs to extend utility services to their properties, according to a BGE web page on the program.

The Aberdeen/Havre de Grace and Edgewood/Joppa enterprise zones comprise more than 14,000 acres — about 5 percent of the total land in Harford County — and they have been concentrated along the “southern tier” of the county’s development envelope, according to Parrish. County officials have tried to include as many business parks as possible, which allows for infill development with new structures or investment by property owners in aging infrastructure, he noted.

About $430 million has been invested in both enterprise zones since 2006, according to Parrish’s presentation.

“A significant amount of capital investment has been made in those areas of the county,” he said.

The County Council will take action on the nine resolutions at a future meeting, Council President Patrick Vincenti said.

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