BALTIMORE — For months, Gov. Larry Hogan has been focused on vaccinating Marylanders. Monday, it was about a different kind of recovery.
"Today we are here to talk about a shot in the arm for the recovery and revitalization of downtown Baltimore," said Hogan.
He joined state and Baltimore City leaders at McKeldin Plaza to announce a plan to help stabilize the downtown area and save the state money.
Governor Larry Hogan and his administration are planning to move 3,300 state employees from 12 different agencies to help revitalize downtown Baltimore's central business district, which has experienced an increase in office vacancies of nearly 34 percent.
"We know that COVID accelerated business consolidation and office downsizing," said Shelonda Stokes, President of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore.
The Maryland Departments of Human Services and Health will be the first agencies to relocated.
Those two agencies alone bring with them 1,919 employees.
Earlier this year, Hogan and legislative leaders committed $50 million in a supplemental budget to support the move, which officials believe will bring significant savings to the state.
"We recognize that many of our state facilities are in such poor condition that it is currently costing more money to maintain those buildings than to rent property downtown," said Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford. "In order to compete and attract workers and create a viable and effective state workforce going forward, we need to offer modern, functional, adaptable work space."
"This is an opportunity for the state, the city and the business community to create a safe, walkable campus-like environment filled with nearby art, culture, healthcare, tourism, restaurants and entertainment," said Stokes.
Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott was not at the press conference but reacted to the news with the following statement.
"While this timely investment seeks to retain jobs and stimulate absorption in the downtown office market, my administration will work with stakeholders to ensure surrounding neighborhoods can also benefit. State Center investment has the potential to bind communities across Baltimore, and it is important that the State of Maryland and the City work together to achieve this.”
Hogan said continued violence is a concern and along with the $1.3 billion from the state already dedicated to crime fighting in the city, state and local partners are working to address it.
"Our state superintendent and some of our other state law enforcement leader are meeting with the police commissioner and others today. They do almost every week and they are gonna continue to see what we can try to do to assist them," said Hogan.
The goal is to have all spaces selected by October of next year.
The solicitation is now open for office space for lease at a single location for the Department of Human Services for 105,700 net square feet of administrative office space.
Listen to the entire press conference below.