City’s EDC Give Thumbs Up To Crystal Springs Development

| August 18, 2011 | 1 Comment

The Annapolis Economic Development Corporation has thrown their support behind a very controversial development along Forest Drive that will reportedly bring 1000 jobs to the City.

Residents along the Forest Drive corridor have opposed this mixed use development fearing the increase in traffic and congestion. The plan calls for a continuing care community, 125 townhomes, a boutique hotel and several retail and professional businesses. The development is slated for 180 acres and 75 of them will be maintained as open space.

Laura Fritts, CEO of the EDC, when questioned about the traffic,  was quoted in The Capital:

The economic benefits seem to outweigh those fears.

The project will need to gain the support of the various planning and zoning commissions prior to any construction.

The full press release from the Annapolis Economic Development Corporation follows.

An economic analysis of the planned Crystal Spring mixed-use retirement community project along Forest Drive and Spa Road in Annapolis concludes that it will create approximately 1,100 permanent jobs in the City of Annapolis. Up to an additional 700 jobs could be created in Anne Arundel County and the State of Maryland through the “multiplier effect” from the economic impacts of Crystal Spring. Each year, the project will generate more than $900,000 in net fiscal benefits for the City of Annapolis and more than $1.3 million for Anne Arundel County.

According to the analysis directed by economist Anirban Basu, chairman and CEO of Sage Policy Group, Inc., the Crystal Spring development, with a $325 million total project cost, will deliver the following benefits to the local and state economy:

During the two-year construction period, an average of 800 jobs will be created each year and occurring on the site in phases.

Once fully operational, 1,112 jobs will be created directly by the development, while 717 jobs supporting the development will be located throughout the State of Maryland. The jobs would be a mix of white collar, healthcare and retail.

Associated income from the jobs generated by the project will total $77.8 million in income (payroll) annually, including $41.3 million from jobs directly on the development and $36.5 million from jobs that support the development.

Crystal Spring will generate over $250 million of business sales annually once the project is fully built-out. Nearly $190 million of the business sales will take place in the City of Annapolis.

During a 10-year period, the City of Annapolis will receive more than $9 million in net fiscal benefits from Crystal Spring and Anne Arundel County will receive $14 million, exclusive of water/sewer hookup fees.

The State of Maryland over a 10-year period will receive a combined $71 million from income, property and sales taxes.

“The Crystal Spring project is an ideal use of this landmark property,” said Lara Fritts, Annapolis EDC President and CEO. “The traffic and infrastructure increases will be minimized by the introduction of the “first truly integrated retirement community.

“With the proposed onsite retail, grocery, cultural arts and CCRC healthcare facilities, residents will enjoy the convenience of living with most their needs met locally,” she said. “Frankly, the tradeoff of even a minor uptick in traffic and infrastructure usage for the substantial jobs and revenue increases to the Annapolis community is well worth it economically, especially in these difficult fiscal conditions.”

“In addition to being the region’s first ‘community-integrated’ continuing care retirement community offering a unique retirement lifestyle, the proposed Crystal Spring development would add to the continuum of care available to residents of the City of Annapolis while providing a diverse set of employment opportunities,” according to Basu. “The proposed development would also allow residents to live, work and play in a unified setting, which will help to minimize the community’s burden on transportation infrastructure while enhancing the quality of life in Annapolis.

“Crystal Spring will generate a significant number of new construction and permanent jobs, substantial long term income and business activity,” he said. “Finally, the City of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County will enjoy annual net fiscal benefits on an ongoing basis.”

Basu, a noted economist and policy analyst who has worked with a variety of clients during his 15-year consulting career, has extensive experience with projects in Anne Arundel County and for the seniors housing market. In 2009, Sage Policy Group prepared an analysis focused upon the demand for continuing care retirement communities in Maryland. The study also contained an analysis of the economic and fiscal impacts produced by CCRCs statewide.

Plans for Crystal Spring are currently under review by the City of Annapolis. Pending approvals, phased construction could begin in 2012. When completed, the CCRC* will have 50 healthcare beds and 350 residence apartments and one-story private and duplex homes. In addition, 125 townhomes at Crystal Spring will be non age-restricted.

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