By Bryn Stole and Meredith Cohn
April 19, 2021
About 3,300 Maryland state workers will relocate to leased office space in downtown Baltimore under a plan to relocate a dozen state agencies announced April 19 by Gov. Larry Hogan.
Hogan framed the move as “a shot in the arm” for the economy of downtown Baltimore, where vacancies in office buildings have been on the rise during the coronavirus pandemic and the departures in recent years of several corporations from the city’s traditional commercial core.
The influx of state workers to downtown will help prop up local restaurants and keep the area vibrant, the Republican governor said.
Most of the workers already are located in Baltimore at the aging state office complex known as State Center less than a mile northwest of downtown. Hogan said the state recently budgeted about $50 million to fund the planned move to newly leased commercial office space.
Hogan administration officials said leasing space for state agencies could end up saving money because of how badly deteriorated current state-owned buildings in Baltimore have become. Upkeep on those facilities now costs state taxpayers more than renting “well-kept property downtown,” Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford said.
The state hasn’t begun selecting the particular buildings or negotiating leases. The Hogan administration kicked off the hunt for new office space April 19 by soliciting bids for a new headquarters for the Maryland Department of Human Services, the state’s primary social welfare agency, which is seeking roughly 105,000 square feet downtown for 720 employees.
Donald C. Fry, who leads the Greater Baltimore Committee, welcomed the governor’s announcement as a major boost to “the many businesses downtown that rely on office workers to stay profitable.”
Fry also said the governor’s decision “underscores that the downtown area remains highly attractive as a location to base major office operations and may help attract other tenants.”
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Source: The Baltimore Sun