Cambridge Looks to Incentivize Vacant Property Development - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Cambridge Looks to Incentivize Vacant Property Development

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The inside of Factory F at the old Phillips Packing Plant (Photo:WBOC) The inside of Factory F at the old Phillips Packing Plant (Photo:WBOC)

CAMBRIDGE, Md.- Cambridge has a problem with vacant industrial buildings.  It's a common problem nationwide, after factories were consolidated decades ago.  But now, cities like Cambridge want to put those empty buildings back into use.

"A lot of the businesses that inhabited these larger buildings have left, and that happened generations ago.  What we have now is a dearth of industrial buildings and we need to start attracting people to those buildings," said Brandon Hesson with Cambridge's Economic Development Department.

The Cambridge Economic Development Steering Committee developed the idea of a tax abatement spanning several years to incentivize the large investments needed in these properties.

"If this building cost $100,000 now, and when they are done fixing it up and turning it into a thriving job creating business, let's say it's $500,000 dollars after that, we're going to offer a tax abatement on the $400,000 difference over eight to 10 years," said Hesson.

As proposed, the first three years would have a 100 percent tax abatement, 80 percent in year four, 60 in year five, 40 in year six, 20 in year seven, and then all taxes due in the eighth year.  But Hesson says that's not the end of the line.

"Our economic development strategic plan, there is a phase two to that that involves the county.  We have to work out some of the details on this, but phase two and phase three are going to deal specifically with vacant buildings in the county."

Cambridge itself is already an enterprise zone, offering tax incentives to people starting new businesses.  The hope is that these incentives can stack on top of that, attracting exciting new opportunities to the old factories.

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