Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D) has pledged to seek $6 million in state funds for a project that would put a conference center, hotel and golf course on the Breton Bay waterfront in Leonardtown as part of the proposed Tudor Hall Village.
Though Leonardtown had asked Glendening for $9 million for the project that is estimated to cost $55 million to $60 million, "we can still do the project with $6 million," said Robin Guyther, town administrator for Leonardtown. "We're delighted. This is the piece we need to put the whole project together."
Though state funds would pay for only a fraction of Tudor Hall Village, Glendening's action "gives the blessing of the state to the project," and thus will make it easier for the town and developers to attract other investors, said Sen. Roy P. Dyson (D-St. Mary's and Calvert).
In an unusual financing arrangement, the town has set up a nonprofit group, Leonardtown Recreation Inc., to finance Tudor Hall Village's construction. The group will issue $38 million to $40 million in tax-free revenue bonds to private investors, and those funds will be used to pay for the planned 18-hole golf course, 255-room hotel and conference center.
Also included on the 393 acres of land on Breton Bay will be 593 housing units, a mix of single-family homes and apartment condominiums. The complex's residential portion will be funded privately by the developers, Keith Allston of Charlotte Hall and Andy Colevas of Prince George's County, without state funds, Dyson said.
Glendening revealed Friday that he plans to ask the General Assembly for $6 million from the fiscal 2001 budget--$3 million in Project Open Space funds and $3 million in grants from the Department of Business and Economic Development.
From the time it was proposed in June 1998, it has been acknowledged that Tudor Hall Village could profoundly alter the character of Leonardtown. The project's housing units alone would more than double the number of residences.
Nevertheless, the project has encountered scant local opposition, Guyther said. The hotel is to sit only blocks from downtown Leonardtown, and Guyther said its presence will help revitalize the town's center, filling vacant storefronts with restaurants and gift shops.
"It's almost the embodiment of smart growth," Dyson said, referring to Glendening's program of directing new development toward existing town centers. "It's centered in the town limits where you do want to see development, not in far-reaching areas where you have to bring new services. This will bring the life back to the town."
Guyther expects groundbreaking to take place by the end of the year and construction to last two years.