Publishing a report on how much Prince George’s County would have made if the Redskins had moved their training facility to Bowie instead of staying in Ashburn is like talking about what you would have done with the mega millions jackpot if you had won. Why bother? If you’d like to see the report prepared for the Maryland Stadium Authority and Prince George’s County government then have at it right here. The gist is this, about 870 good paying jobs in Bowie, a minimum of $6.7 million in economic impact, player relocation costs, increases in all kinds of revenue were all lost because the Redskins decided to stay in Ashburn, VA. If we want to compete, Maryland will have to stop taxing everyone to death.
Greenwood Racing Inc. (Parx Casino’s owner company) is crying the blues and offering more money for infrastructure support so they can be awarded the gambling license for Prince George’s County. Funny thing is, the money they’re offering for additional improvements will be charged right back to the gambling hands of Prince George’s County residents. Read the Washington Business Journal post:
The owner of Parx Casino outside Philadelphia has revised its bid for the proposed Parx Casino Hotel & Spa in Fort Washington, formally offering to fully fund the design and construction for two grade-separated interchanges — one at Indian Head Highway and Old Fort Road, and the other at Indian Head Highway and Livingston/Palmer roads. The last-minute offer (which Greenwood argues must be considered despite its late receipt) comes after a series of consultants hired by the Maryland Video Lottery Terminal Location Commission found that MGM Resorts International’s bid for MGM National Harbor was an all-around better deal for the state. The commission is expected to decide Dec. 20 between MGM, Greenwood and Penn National Gaming Inc. as the county’s new casino operator.
Greenwood had previously offered $100 million for the critical road work, roughly half of its estimated price tag. But the state had set aside nothing — there was no guarantee the work, considered key to the Greenwood bid, would ever get done. Don’t worry too much for Greenwood, however. The company’s offer contains a provision that it recoup any costs above $100 million via the assignment of local impact grant funding designated for Indian Head Highway improvements. Essentially, a percentage of the proceeds generated by Parx casino slots would be returned to Greenwood to cover the costs of the interchanges. That said, with $200 million, the company argues that Parx Maryland now offers the highest level of capital investment ($965 million to MGM’s $925 million), the highest gaming tax rate, the highest license fee, the most slot machines (4,750 at full buildout) and the most tax revenue to the state.
Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley led a 9-day business mission to Brazil. County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III, headed the Prince George’s County delegation which included a business delegation led by Gwen S. McCall, President and CEO of the Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation. Fifteen companies from Prince George’s County were given an opportunity to meet with Brazilian companies and explore opportunities in security, alternative energy technologies, hospitality, sports, housing, healthcare, information technology, aerospace, construction, beauty & health and commercial development. Maryland delegations participated in meetings, receptions and site visits with Brazilian government leaders, as well as industry leaders, chambers of commerce, US Embassy and Commercial Service officials, in addition to pre-scheduled business-to-business meetings. This was reported by the PGCo Economic Development Corp. It’s an interesting trip. Brazil is still very segregated: Northern affluence, Southern affluence and there are reports that the government is too involved in the business sector, and that their economic growth has slowed to a halt. From the World Bank: In 2012, the Government launched a range of initiatives to reduce energy costs, restructure oil royalty payments, strengthen investment in infrastructure through foreign participation, and reform the subnational value-added tax. Let’s hope that we can make some good connections and international deals for this county. Otherwise this is just a 9-day trip at the taxpayers expense. Let’s be on the lookout for some results.
The new FBI headquarters is still a hot commodity. Washington, DC is not out of the running as some speculated after hearing the new GSA requirements for the FBI headquarters (accommodate 2.1 million square feet of office and related space, including parking as related by local rules • Level V security protection • Access to Metro and the Beltway & be within 2 miles by paved public access road of a Metrorail station, and either inside the Capital Beltway or within 2.5 miles by paved public access road of a Capital Beltway interchange). DC has space in SW that might accommodate the FBI but it’s looking like Greenbelt is a frontfunner. Fairfax County says not so though, from WJLA, “Fairfax County believes a site in Springfield is ideal. It’s close to the Franconia-Springfield Metro, near the interstate, and already home to buildings owned by the General Services Administration, the federal agency accepting bids on the project.
“This is a hard site to ignore and it probably is the frontrunner and that’s because it makes the most sense,” says Jeff McKay of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. Meanwhile, Prince George’s County says its proposed site in Greenbelt is even better. It’s right next to the Metro, right off the Beltway, and the large number of Prince George’s County residents working for the FBI would stay close to home. “Prince George’s County is the last frontier and is the place to be when it comes to development here,” says Aubrey Thagard of the Prince George’s County Office for Economic Development. While Springfield and Greenbelt are getting a lot of the attention, the bidding process is open until Dec. 17, and the federal government is strongly encouraging the District of Columbia to submit a proposal.” Dear Aubrey Thagard: Don’t refer to Prince George’s County as the “last frontier.” Come on man.
It’s so disappointing to hear news that Seat Pleasant‘s $100 million City Center has been scrapped. Last year in September there was a huge $100k groundbreaking ceremony with celebrity appearances and performances. The City Center was to be a 15 acres site with a 24-hour urgent care clinic, senior housing, a new city hall and energy-efficient architecture that would create at least as much energy as the complex consumes, accordting to Seat Pleasant Mayor Eugene Grant. The Gazette reported that Seat Pleasant Council members who voted to discontinue the project, at a $200k cost to the taxpayers, cited the city’s $3.7 million yearly budget as insufficient for supporting the $100 million dollar project. A sad quote from Mayor Eugene Grant, “It is gone,” Grant said of the planned center. “This was our project. This was our vision.” The article tells who voted the project down:
The council members who voted against the project were Elenora Simms (Ward 1), who made the motion for cancellation; Aretha Stephenson (Ward 2), who seconded the motion; Johnie Higgs Sr. (At large) and Eugene Kennedy (Ward 5). Councilman Gerald Raynor (Ward 4) abstained, and Councilman Kelly Porter (At large) was absent from the meeting. Council president Reveral Yeargin voted against canceling the project. “I want to see some economic development in my city,” Yeargin said. “We have the power to make change.” Simms and Stephenson declined to comment on the vote, instead requesting that the city’s administrator, LaTasha Gatling, respond to queries regarding the vote. Higgs also declined comment, and Kennedy and Porter did not return phone calls for comment by press time.
Gatling said in an email to The Gazette that the project’s term sheets, documents that outline a business agreement and are the framework for a final agreement, were a concern to council members. “[The] majority of the council felt that the city is not in a position to take on a project of a $100 million plus, when the City’s annual budget is $3.7 million,” Gatling said in the email. Gatling declined to comment further. Resident Bettye Magee-Price said she was upset about the project’s termination, but was unable to tell the council because its Dec. 9 meeting was canceled due to lack of quorum. Kennedy, Porter, Simms and Stephenson were unable to make the meeting because of a mix of traveling and illness, Yeargin said. Higgs left right after the meeting was canceled. “Unacceptable is putting it mildly,” Magee-Price said of the project’s cancellation. “This is crazy.”