Bozzuto close to deal on subsidy package to stay in Prince George’s

After nearly a year of discussions, officials in Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker’s administration have nearly finalized details of a package of subsidies aimed at keeping Bozzuto & Associates in the county.

The construction, management and land development firm was founded in 1988 by Thomas S. Bozzuto and three partners, and has since developed more than 50,000 units valued at more than $7 billion. It reported revenue of $1.1 billion for 2011 and said last year that it had 851 Washington area employees.

David S. Iannucci, a top economic development aide to Baker, said Bozzuto, the firm’s chairman and chief executive, and his son Toby Bozzuto had expressed concern about the business climate under then-County Executive Jack B. Johnson, who pleaded guilty in 2011 to charges related to a bribery scandal. Johnson was sentenced to more than seven years in federal prison.

Toby Bozzuto, the company’s president, “told me we had a big problem, kind of based on problems in the previous administration,” Iannucci said. “His father was very down on the county and that began a years-long effort to address a whole lot of issues including the company’s sincere feeling of disappointment and a need to rebuild credibility and rebuild trust and convince people that our word was good and that the county executive was committed to changing Prince George’s County, rebranding it and making it a good place to do business.”

Iannucci declined to say what amount or type of subsidies that the county would be offering. He plans to transmit the proposal to the county council in the beginning of June.

Toby Bozzuto said staying in Greenbelt made sense because of the low cost, the central location for employees and access to the Beltway.

“The current administration in Prince George’s County recognized that the performance of the prior administration had not been what many of us would have hoped for, and ... went out of their way to really try to retain our company in the county and we really respect the work that they have done,” he said.

The company already agreed to a new lease, for 74,000 square feet at 6406 Ivy Lane in Greenbelt, which will relocate its headquarters from 7850 Walker Dr. Bozzuto’s new landlord, Mack-Cali Realty, disclosed the lease in an April 25 investors call.

Three weeks ago, county officials and the Bozzutos celebrated side-by-side at a groundbreaking for the company’s newest apartment building, the Esplanade at National Harbor. “It was a very, very concerted effort to rebuild that trust,” Iannucci said.

Jonathan O'Connell has covered land use and development in the Washington area for more than five years.
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