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City Council votes to eliminate property taxes for UM BioPark developer for 5 years

The Baltimore City Council on Monday voted unanimously to eliminate property taxes for at least five years for a real estate firm developing the University of Maryland BioPark.

The council approved the property's designation as part of the Regional Institution Strategic Enterprise, or RISE, zone. When combined with other incentive zones, it will allow the developer to avert property taxes and receive other tax benefits.

The state, which approves the RISE zone designation, typically takes the lead from local leaders and would reimburse 40 percent of the deferred property taxes, officials said. The RISE zone can be renewed for another five years.

The subsidy for the roughly $110 million project is designed to help BioPark developer Wexford Science & Technology lure a branch of the Cambridge Innovation Center to Baltimore, officials said. The Massachusetts-based firm provides co-working space to start-ups and would lease about 40 percent of the 250,000-square foot building.

The firm also is seeking $17.5 million in public tax-increment-financing for the project.

The project is expected to create about 360 full-time construction jobs and more than 900 full-time permanent jobs, with average annual salaries of more than $80,000, according to the Baltimore Development Corp., the city's economic development agency, which supports the project.

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