This month, land around 14 transit stations in Maryland became eligible for incentives under a State program aimed at promoting development around transit stations. Projects that qualify may get financial assistance as well as priority consideration.

Although many projects are in the process of negotiating development agreements with the State, at least five of the sites will be the subject of future competitions for selection of developers and development proposals. Moreover, projects within the requisite one-half mile of a transit station, whether or not the subject of a negotiated agreement with the State, may also be eligible for some of the benefits of the program.

Maryland formally created the Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Initiative in 2008, although informal TOD projects in both the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore regions have been under way for some time.

Designation of a project as a TOD by the State and local subdivisions will make the project eligible for various incentives, including priority consideration for the future location of State facilities. Lawyers at Ballard Spahr have been involved in two of the projects involving development agreements between the State of Maryland and a developer selected through a competition, including State Center, the largest TOD project thus far.

The State has 75 heavy rail, light rail, and subway stations in operation and more than a dozen in the planning or construction stages, according to the Department of Transportation. Most of the several stations targeted by the TOD Initiative before this month are in Baltimore. Of the stations now officially designated for the program, half are in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, and at least four will be the subject of future RFQs or RFPs for the potential inclusion of State-owned property around each station.

Projects designated under the Initiative may, among other things:

  • Apply for financing from the Maryland Economic Development Corporation

  • Receive priority treatment by the Maryland Department of Transportation

  • Receive funds for predevelopment planning and feasibility analysis

Furthermore, under the Sustainable Communities Act of 2010, nonhistoric commercial buildings in designated TOD projects became eligible for Sustainable Communities Tax Credits, although at a lower rate than historic projects and subject to a fixed percentage of all credits annually awarded.

Montgomery County targets include the Wheaton, Shady Grove, and Twinbrook metro stations. All three have approved Sector Plans calling for redevelopment of the surrounding areas as mixed-use, high-density communities. Development in Twinbrook is under way. In Shady Grove, a master developer has been selected, and the County is exploring new locations for its facilities. The County has also issued an RFQ for redevelopment of County land at the Wheaton Metro. The State is offering $200,000 in predevelopment assistance under the Initiative.

In the Baltimore region, in addition to those at ongoing projects, opportunities will be available at Aberdeen, Odenton, and other stations that will benefit from the influence of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC).

As the Initiative moves forward, other Metro, MARC, and light rail stations along the Baltimore-Washington corridor and statewide will likely be designated for TOD benefits. Should you have questions about the Initiative or how a particular project might qualify, please contact Mark Pollak, at 410.528.5563 or; or any member of Ballard Spahr’s Real Estate Development Group.

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