Boondoggle Hotel project stiffed by state DHCD — 15 strategic demolition fund grants made FY17, Frederick zero’d out

A third state agency has given the thumbs down to the $84m City-sponsored downtown hotel and conference center (DHCC.) The City’s latest application for a $1 million Strategic Demolition Fund (SDF) grant was turned down flat. Sara Luell spokesman for the state Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) told us this morning: “The Department is not funding that project.” Maryland Stadium Authority and Maryland Economic Development Corporation (MEDCO) decided last year to have no more to do with the Frederick hotel project.

DHCD spokesman Luell sent us a list of 15 projects around the state that were funded for the new fiscal year, FY17. Counties that got SDF grants (number per county) included Allegany (1), Caroline (1), Charles (1), Dorchester (2), Hartford (2), Howard (1), Kent (1), Montgomery (1), St Mary’s (1), Talbot (2), Washington (1), Worcester (1). Baltimore gets grants under a separate program. The ‘statewide’ or non-Baltimore grants totaled $3.2 million.

see list of funded projects for FY17:

http://dhcd.maryland.gov/Communities/Documents/FY17SDFStatewideFunded.pdf

In August last year the Mayor and Board of Aldermen approved the SDF application to the state DHCD for $1 million. The City did receive grants under the same program in earlier years: FY15 $350,000, and FY16 $500,000. The money was to be used for acquiring the land from the owners of the Frederick News-Post.

City PR splash when got grant Jan 19 2016, silence when stiffed

The City has been proposing to buy the land for $3.5 million and according to the executive summary for the Mayor & Board the anticipated state SDF grants via DHCD would fund approximately a half ($0.35m + $0.5m + $1.0m = $1.85m) of the land cost. The City planned to ‘lease’ the land to the hotel developer for a small fraction of market lease rentals, one of several proposed sources of public financial subsidy to the hotel project.

This time last year (2016/01/19) the City put out a splashy press release announcing receipt of the grant of $500k from DHCD under the program, though it misnamed it a Smart Growth Impact Fund grant. And the Frederick News-Post reported it prominently the same day, though they too misnamed the program.

http://www.fredericknewspost.com/news/economy_and_business/real_estate_and_development/city-of-frederick-receives-toward-downtown-hotel-project/article_74814fd7-362c-5fc2-b7bb-fa3a0b1c87c7.html

This year not a peep out of the City or a word in the News-Post about the City not getting money from the state under the same grant program. 2017.01.18

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