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Politics Slowing Down Harbor Point Project

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Baltimore City's plan to make the most of its waterfront gets a little more complicated.

Political reporter Pat Warren explains politics and the environment are slowing Harbor Point down.

Baltimore's waterfront is a local treasure and more's coming.

High expectations now center on Harbor Point, 27 acres between Harbor East and Fells Point.

WJZ archive video from 1989 shows Harbor Point prior to the demolition of a chromium ore processing plant that required a multi-million dollar cleanup.

The property is now valued at $10 million and is expected to multiply to $1.8 billion when the new Harbor Point is completed.

"It's such a dynamic piece of property. It sits on the water; it's clearly the best piece of real estate," said developer Michael Beatty.

Beatty in September was hoping to break ground last month for what will include the regional headquarters for Exelon. But the government shutdown and air quality safeguards have delayed the start.

Still, there's no less enthusiasm for the project.

"Notwithstanding some of the environmental issues around it, we shouldn't make light of that but nevertheless, it is an opportunity for the city to reclaim some of its lost land," said Daraius Irani, Regional Economic Studies Institute.

The project includes $59 million worth of parks, a $29 million promenade and a $10 million bridge.

"By having Exelon build its corporate headquarters there, mixed use development there...these are all opportunities for the city to generate tax revenue somewhere down the road," Irani said.

A public meeting to review the project's environmental safeguards will be held Nov. 14.

In 2003, Harbor Point was cited by the EPA as a model for the agency's land revitalization program.

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