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Best Fiasco

Harbor Point

It started out as a slam dunk: 3 million square feet of office, retail, hotels, and residences space on a prime waterfront peninsula in the Inner Harbor. With a guaranteed lease from Exelon, backing from the city and the neighborhoods, Harbor Point was set to be the jewel in the new downtown’s crown—and never mind the chromium entombed below. But then, even as Beatty Development reduced its original $154 million Tax Increment Finance request to $107 million, it moved to restore $88 million in Enterprise Zone breaks that might have faded away. It woke up the critics so that even as the TIF shrank, the outrage grew louder, culminating in a series of raucous City Council hearings in which people from the projects chanted and City Council’s Rikki Spector scowled back, dismissing them as the “peanut gallery.” The project will get built, with the tax breaks it doesn’t need—which aren’t peanuts. But the politicians who pushed it will be forever remembered for their craven supineness.

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