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Harbor Point group makes pitch for credits (access required)

At a raucous public hearing Wednesday night, an executive at Harbor East Development Group outlined the company’s plans for development of the 27-acre parcel and adjoining sites ...

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  1. Some key questions asked during the meeting:

    * Will housing in the Harbor Point project be affordable for the majority of the people that work in them?

    * How will developers deal with chemical pollution problems that have beset similar projects along the waterfront?

    * If Harbor Point is as profitable as the developers say it will be, why does it need a tax credit? (These numbers don’t add up.)

    * Has the Westin hotel excluded itself from the PILOT program because it won’t allow its workers to unionize?

    I didn’t hear any persuasive answers. Audience members also asked for data on previous projects, which the presenters did not have available. Questions were also raised about social responsibility, and whether the people of Baltimore could have some control over what corporations they were subsidizing.

    It seemed to me like those presenting were basically embarrassed, but at the same time realized that they would not ultimately be held accountable—they were thus at liberty to say whatever they wanted with some confidence that their deal would go through.