Morgan Stanley requests part of city loan

The Baltimore Sun

Morgan Stanley has requested the first part of a $1.5 million city loan to assist with the company's expansion in Baltimore, saying it will create the first third of an expected 900 new jobs in the city during the next three years, a Baltimore Development Corp. official said yesterday.

Members of the city's Board of Estimates gave final approvals for the loan in December. The first $500,000 is tied to the creation of 300 jobs by December 2012 and is expected to go to Morgan Stanley in the next month, said Jeffrey Pillas, the BDC's chief financial officer.

Despite the recession and turmoil gripping financial services firms, city officials said they believe Morgan Stanley will hold up its end of the incentive. It calls for 900 new jobs by 2018 as part of the company's expansion into an office tower under construction in the planned Harbor Point waterfront development near Fells Point. If the jobs goal is met, $750,000 of the loan would be forgiven.

"They're making a commitment to the city, and this is a large commitment," Pillas said.

Morgan Stanley, which had been the second-biggest U.S. securities firm before converting to a bank holding company last year, declined to comment yesterday. Last month, the firm bought control of the Smith Barney brokerage unit of Citigroup Inc.

The planned expansion in Baltimore would bring Morgan Stanley's presence in the city to about 1,500 workers. The company received a $1.75 million loan from the city in 2003 tied to job creation and now has about 550 employees in institutional securities processing in the Bond Street Wharf office building in Fells Point.

Morgan Stanley signed a lease in 2007 for about half of the 270,000-square-foot office building in Harbor Point, the 27-acre former site of Allied Signal's chromium plant. It is slated to become an $830 million office and residential community.

The office building is scheduled to be completed this year, and Morgan Stanley is expected to move in by January, Michael S. Beatty, president of H&S; Properties Development Corp., the project's developer, has said.

H&S; Properties, developing the project with Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse, is also planning to build a 300-unit apartment building and a 270-room Westin hotel but has not moved beyond the design phase, Beatty said.

Besides the city loan, Morgan Stanley will receive a $4 million grant from the state Department of Business and Economic Development's Sunny Day Fund and a $1.5 million work force grant, the BDC said. Total expansion costs for Morgan Stanley are estimated at $42 million, the BDC said.

Yesterday, the Board of Estimates approved a $300,000 business loan to Joe Corbi's Wholesale Pizza Inc., a Baltimore-based maker and wholesaler of pizza products, cookie dough, soft pretzels and other types of breads sold in kits.

The money will go toward the purchase of a 40,000-square-foot building on Wegworth Lane in Southwest Baltimore, where the company will move a portion of its cookie dough manufacturing and distribution facility from Iowa.

The $2.6 million expansion will create 40 jobs and help the company increase its online ordering, catalog sales and other products. The company employs 217 workers.

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