BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore City Council approved the hotly contested $660 million deal to develop Port Covington on Monday evening. The deal passed with only one council member voting “no” and two abstaining, the rest approving the development.
Councilman Carl Stokes voted yes and has big hopes for the future.
“I actually expect it be something that makes a strong difference economically for citizens of Baltimore,” said Stokes.
The area in southwest Baltimore City is being largely supported by Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank. The project will come complete with new housing, retail, and a new headquarters for Under Armour.
A guarantee the company’s imprint will be in charm city for years to come.
“I think in 20 years you’ll look back and say that the city made the right call here in keeping not only Under Armour here, but a tremendous opportunity to develop a grossing underutilized piece of property,” said Bill Cole of Baltimore Development Corporation.
The company that will be developing Port Covington calls the deal transformational and inclusive, but the sole council member who voted no, said there was nothing in it for his district.
“The bill didn’t do anything to serve the 13th district,” said City Council member Warren Branch.
Branch said he specifically wanted more affordable housing opportunities and protestors agreed.
“I’m there to represent the people of my district. I they don’t get nothing, then they can’t get my vote,” said Branch.
Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke has had concerns all along Tuesday night. She abstained from voting.
“I wasn’t going to vote against Port Covington, because I think a lot has come from it and will, and I am very hopeful about it, it’s part of the future for all of us,” said Clarke.
Now that city council passed the bills, they’ll go to the mayor’s office for her signature solidifying the deal.
While many say that the development would be too costly and call it corporate welfare, the plan has been strongly supported by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, along with City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young, who said the deal is too good to pass up.
The Port Covington project is projected to create 26,500 permanent jobs and have a $4.3 billion annual economic impact, once complete.
The city’s Board of Finance is expected to issue the $660 million in bonds in five increments over the next 40 years.
Shortly after Monday’s vote, Sagamore development released a statement that says in part: “We are excited to get started creating tens of thousands of jobs [and] generating long-term positive economic impact for Baltimore City ”