City Seeking Enterprise Zone Designation For Golden Mile

The Aldermen are expected to vote on that Thursday evening.


Frederick, Md (KM). It’s another tool to help revitalize the Golden Mile. The City of Frederick is applying to the Maryland Department of Commerce to designate the corridor along Route 40 as an enterprise zone.

“The city administration is very interested in continuing to try to drive private investment by businesses and developers in terms of job creation and facility investment along the Golden Mile,” says Richard Griffin, the City’s Director of Economic Development.

An enterprise zone designation would offer real property tax and income tax credits to businesses who create jobs and make investments in the targeted area. Griffin says the credits would come when a business hires qualified employees. “Qualifications include the number of hours they have to work per week, and how much they’re paid, and the types of benefits they receive,” he says.

“And assuming that they qualify, then the business would be eligible for an income tax for that employee,” says Griffin. “If you’re a business and you;re trying to decide where you want to locate and where you want to put a facility, you might consider wanting to be in an enterprise zone.”

There are 36 enterprise zones in Maryland. The City of Brunswick has that designation which was established in 2016. It’s the only enterprise zone in Frederick County.

The city says the enterprise zone designation, if granted by the state, would cover 570-acres along Route 40 in the western end of the city.

Griffin says the Golden Mile has faced some significant challenges in recent years, including the vacant Frederick Towne Mall, and national chains which provided an anchor along the Route 40 corridor going out of business. Toys-R-Us recently announced it was closing its US stores. But he says an enterprise zone designation could help the area recover. However, Griffin says the retail industry can be finicky. “As you have new areas to develop, often retailers  tend  to go into those areas. So attracting it back to older retail areas, getting renovation and revitalization of old buildings is important. And those programs help,” he says.

Last week, the HighRock Group announced it was bringing a “high end movie” theater known as Warehouse Cinemas to part of the vacant Frederick Towne Mall.

Griffin says the Board of Aldermen will be voting on a resolution supporting the request for an enterprise zone for the Golden Mile. After that, it will go before the County Council for its consideration.   Then it heads to the Maryland Department of Commerce.


By Kevin McManus