Annapolis Junction Town Center

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First Howard County Transit-Oriented Development Moving Forward

March 6, 2014  •  source

Howard County Executive Ken Ulman today announced a major milestone toward completion of Howard County’s first Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Project.

The Annapolis Junction Town Center Project will soon get underway after County Executive Ulman on Tuesday approved a financing plan to allow a 704-space commuter parking garage to be constructed adjacent to the MARC Savage Station.

The $17 million, four-story parking structure will be built on land owned by the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) and will facilitate major residential, commercial, and retail development of other property near the commuter rail station, which is on MARC’s Camden Line and in close proximity to Fort Meade.

Plans for Annapolis Junction Town Center include 416 apartments, 100,000 square feet of office space, 17,450 square feet of retail space, and a 150-room hotel. Construction of the first commuter parking garage will begin this spring, with apartments and retail space to follow.

“This is exactly the type of project we need in Howard County to take complete advantage of our access to transit and our proximity to Fort Meade,” County Executive Ulman said. “We are now creating the housing, services, and transportation options for the tens of thousands of jobs that are coming to the region, thanks to BRAC.”

County Executive Ulman has approved a Tax-Increment Financing package for the garage, which will be constructed by Somerset Construction and operated by MDOT.

“We are excited to get underway and build the kind of high-quality project that Howard County deserves,” said Neil Greenberg, Chief Operating Officer with Somerset Construction, the lead developer on Annapolis Junction Town Center. “Howard County is a great place to do business, and we are thrilled to be part of the community and share in the vision for the future.”

The 19-acre site near Dorsey Run Road, off of Route 32, has been designated as a BRAC Zone, fulfilling a major initiative of Governor Martin O’Malley and Lt. Governor Anthony Brown to capitalize on the base-realignment program. Additionally, the site also was named as a Designated TOD by MDOT to encourage office, retail, and residential development in walking distance to transit — thereby increasing transit ridership and reducing sprawl.

“Transit Oriented Development is a critical part of our effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions and reduce traffic congestion, while fostering economic growth and building a more sustainable future for Maryland,” said Lt. Governor Anthony Brown. “Annapolis Junction will be an important part of that future and will give both military families and Howard County residents a great place to live, work, and shop.”

Howard County partnered with MDOT and the private sector to promote TOD on this site. On Tuesday, March 11, MDOT plans to sell 9.2 acres to the development team led by Somerset Construction, to allow for the construction of the housing, retail, office, and hotel development.

“Under the leadership of the O’Malley-Brown Administration, we are working closely with local partners like Howard County and the private sector to focus development around existing transit stations,” said Transportation Secretary James T. Smith, Jr. “This project is a great example of our ongoing efforts to increase transit ridership, preserve the environment, and enhance Maryland’s economic competitiveness. Howard County has been a great partner throughout this process.”

On March 4, the County bonds to finance the garage were sold at an interest rate of 6.14%. The strong interest in the bonds was reflected in the multiple offers received by the County. Because the bonds were sold below the County’s established target rate of 6.5%, the County will save $2.3 million in interest over the 30-year life of the bonds.

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