DOC Approves RISE Zone Around bwtech@UMBC
The Maryland Department of Commerce has approved a Regional Institution Strategic Enterprise Zone, or RISE Zone, around the University of Maryland, Baltimore County’s research and technology park, known as bwtech@UMBC. The new zone will help enhance bwtech’s mission to support established companies, provide incubator and accelerator services to emerging companies, and help university researchers commercialize their work.
UMBC hopes to use the five-year designation to support adding 100,000 square feet of space to lease to technology-related businesses, a project the university expects will create approximately 250 high tech and cybersecurity jobs. The new development will take two to five years to complete and result in a capital investment of up to $20 million.
“UMBC has grown into a major research university over the past 50 years. During that time, bwtech@UMBC has become UMBC’s primary means of encouraging business development and a critical asset in the university’s technology commercialization efforts,” said Freeman Hrabowski, president of UMBC. “A RISE Zone designation will allow us to continue to attract partners to assist with additional research park development.”
The UMBC Rise Zone covers 71 acres and includes the two parcels that make up bwtech@UMBC. The research park, which is the university’s primary vehicle for business development, currently leases 525,000 square feet of space to 125 businesses, most of which are in the technology sector and employ roughly 1,450 people. The RISE Zone designation lasts for five years.
New Hub for Science Education, Research Opens at Bowie State
Bowie State University has opened a new Center for Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Nursing, designed to promote innovation in collaborative teaching and research, featuring one of the nation’s largest installations of dynamic glass that tints on-demand to create an energy-efficient learning environment.
The $102 million, 149,000-square-foot center incorporates high-performance, sustainable design aimed at achieving LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. The center represents the university’s new approach to the instruction of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), replacing the outdated Crawford Science Building.
Some distinctive elements include portions of the exterior façade and the entire three-story cylindrical, multi-purpose space, called The Beacon, that features 25,000 square feet of dynamic glass, which tints on-demand to provide unobstructed access to outdoor views and significantly lower heating and cooling costs over time; and one of the nation’s most state-of-the-art nursing simulation centers that reflects the latest thinking in nursing education. It uses lifelike computerized mannequins that simulate patients in hospital and clinical settings.
It also incorporates a fully-enclosed greenhouse that will enable students and faculty working on plant sciences research to remain integrated with other science disciplines in the building.
TEDCO Announces New $300K Incubation Challenge
TEDCO has announced its request for proposals for the creation of innovative strategies that demonstrate advancement in the state-of-the-art of business incubation. TEDCO will allocate $300,000 in non-reimbursable grant funding to the Incubation Challenge and will make up to two awards, depending on the quality of proposals submitted.
“There is a shared sense that, as time goes on, our state’s startup companies must continually ‘raise their game’ in order to compete successfully for talent, customers, investment and visibility,” said John Wasilisin, TEDCO president and chief operating officer.
“As such, all of the organizations incubating Maryland’s startup companies must, in turn, continually innovate and improve in order to provide the needed assistance. The opportunity exists for TEDCO to leverage its leadership role within the innovation ecosystem and its financial resources to stimulate innovation within this community of organizations and individuals dedicated to supporting the state’s entrepreneurs,” Wasilisin said.
Incubation Challenge proposals are due July 31; and the request for proposal details can be found at http://tedco.md/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/TEDCO-Incubation-Challenge_RFP_05-22-17.pdf. For more information, contact Neil Davis, TEDCO’s director of entrepreneurial development, at [email protected].
Schuh to Include Funding to Kick Off GDP in Supplemental Budget
Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh has announced that his proposed 2017 supplemental budget plan includes funding to accelerate the General Development Plan (GDP) in response to community concerns across the county.
Since last winter, the Department of Planning and Zoning has been developing a comprehensive transportation master plan for the county, the first step in the GDP. The $50,000 in funding proposed by the county executive would be earmarked for public input and planning in advance of the master plan.
As a charter county, Anne Arundel County is granted planning and zoning powers. The Anne Arundel County Code designates the Office of Planning and Zoning to prepare and periodically update a comprehensive plan to guide growth and development.
The county executive’s supplemental budget plan was submitted to the County Council on June 9.
CGC Holdings Expands in Howard County, Plans to Add 125 Jobs
CGC Holdings, a food distribution company in Jessup, recently completed construction and has moved into a new, 160,000-square-foot building in Howard County. Located at 7540 Assateague Drive, the new facility contains the company’s headquarters and warehouse and distribution operations. CGC Holdings currently has 225 full-time employees and anticipates adding an additional 125 new jobs during the next four years.
“Our new building is state-of-the-art and triple the size of our former facility, and it enables us to better serve our customers with the freshest produce and seafood in the area,” said John Cefalu, CEO of CGC Holdings. “We have expanded our fresh cut produce and fresh fish lines, and have room for more growth.”
CGC Holdings is the parent company of two related family businesses, G. Cefalu & Bro. and Capital Seaboard. The two companies first came together 12 years ago, and in 2012, they formed CGC Holdings to formalize the joining of the two businesses.
To assist with project costs, the Maryland Department of Commerce has approved a $150,000 conditional loan through the Maryland Economic Development Assistance Authority and Fund (MEDAAF). The company is also eligible for various state and local tax credits, including Maryland’s Job Creation Tax Credit.
Fitch, Moody’s Rate Annapolis, S&P Forthcoming
The city of Annapolis maintained its AA+ rating from the Fitch Rating Agency, and its outlook remains stable. In addition, Fitch affirmed the following ratings: approximately $75 million outstanding city GO bonds at AA+; the Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at AA+. Fitch affirmed the AA+ rating and outlook as stable.
Fitch wrote, “The city’s strong financial profile reflects positive revenue growth prospects from an improving property tax base, manageable expenditure growth and a demonstrated ability to reduce expenditures during economic downturns.”
Also, Moody’s Investors Service has assigned an Aa2 positive rating to Annapolis’s $6.1 million General Obligation Public Improvements Refunding Bonds Series 2016A and $19.6 million General Obligation Public Improvements Taxable Refunding Bonds Series 2016B. Concurrently, Moody’s maintains the Aa2 positive rating on the city’s $144 million of General Obligation debt outstanding.
According to Moody’s, “The Aa2 reflects the city’s recently improved financial position supported by proactive management and conservative budgeting despite a planned reduction in reserves. The rating also reflects the city’s sizable and diverse tax base with institutional presence, above average demographic profile, and manageable debt burden.”
Standard and Poor’s (S&P) rating of the city’s financial performance is expected to be released shortly.
Kittleman Files Bills to Amend the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance
Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman pre-filed two bills with the County Council that would change the county’s Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO), a move based on recommendations from a 23-member APFO Review Task Force. “This has been a deliberate and steady process, because we want to make sure we get it right,” he said. “These amendments will allow for better management of the process, ensuring growth doesn’t outpace infrastructure.”
The legislation would amend the county’s general plan — PlanHoward 2030 — and also the county’s Adequate Public Facilities Act, which is part of the Howard County Code. The goal is to coordinate residential and commercial growth with existing and future infrastructure needs. One change would eliminate the ability to share housing allocations across growth areas and would adjust the number of allocations in each area to increase predictability and better account for housing demand.
Other changes would include specifying completion timelines for certain types of road remediation projects; renaming the school system’s Open/Closed Chart to the School Capacity Chart; requiring a review committee to convene at the conclusion of each General Plan cycle (every 10 years) at a minimum; exempting Moderate Income Housing Units (MIHU) from the allocations test; and specifying developer wait times for allocations and schools’ tests.
From 1995 to 2015, the number of households in Howard County increased from 79,260 to 110,370. The Howard County Public School System reported student population grew from 37,547 to 54,134 during the same timeframe. To review the legislation, visit http://cc.howardcountymd.gov; to view the full report of the APFO Task Force, go to www.howardcountymd.gov/Branches/County-Executive/Adequate-Public-Facilities-report-2015.
Manufacturing Report: Maryland’s Grade Drops for Global Positioning
Maryland’s grades for global positioning dropped from “D” to “D-” in the latest manufacturing and logistics report from Ball State University. The state’s grades remained the same in the other categories: manufacturing, “D”; logistics, “D”; human capital, “C”; benefits costs, “C”; productivity and innovation, “C”; tax climate, “C-”; diversification, “C-”; and expected fiscal liability gap “C.”
The “2017 Manufacturing and Logistics Report Card,” prepared by Ball State’s Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) for Conexus Indiana, the state’s advanced manufacturing initiative, shows how each state ranks among its peers in several areas of the economy that underlie the success of manufacturing and logistics.
CBER Director Michael Hicks, the George and Frances Ball Distinguished Professor of Economics and Business Research, also explains why U.S. manufacturing and logistics industries experienced dramatic growth during the past generation with his report, “Manufacturing and Logistics: A Generation of Volatility & Growth.”
The study found that U.S. manufacturing production grew 11% since the dot.com bust (2000–03) and the ensuing economic turbulence of the 2001 and 2007–09 recessions. The report is now in its 10th year.
“According to folklore, this has been a terrible generation for manufacturing and those who move goods,” Hicks said. “That isn’t really what the data says. Indeed, 2015 was a record manufacturing production year in inflation-adjusted dollars. While 2016 fell just short with some weakness in the first and second quarter, 2017 looks to be a new record year.”