Sen. Cardin visits Phillips Packing Plant
CAMBRIDGE — Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., visited the revitalization of the former Phillips Packing Company in Cambridge on Friday, March 10, for a tour of the building and a discussion about the Historic Tax Credit rehabilitation project.
Cardin was joined by representatives from Preservation Maryland and the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, who are spearheading the project and also voiced their support Friday for maintaining and improving the federal Historic Tax Credit program.
Cardin announced his introduction of the Historic Tax Credit Improvement Act, which would make changes to the program focused on increasing efficiency and making the credit more valuable to smaller “Main Street”-type projects in Maryland and around the nation.
The Packing House project recently was awarded a $3 million tax credit for revitalization of a structure located within an underserved community.
“As we stand in the last remaining factory of what was a 60-acre campus of Phillips Packing Company that employed thousands and fed our troops during the world wars, I reflect on the Phillips Company slogan: ‘What Cambridge makes, makes Cambridge,’” said Katie Parks, Center for Towns director at ESLC.
According to a press release from ESLC and Preservation Maryland, the HTC has created 2.3 million jobs, leveraged $117 billion in investment and rehabilitated more than 41,250 buildings over the past 36 years.
This credit also is responsible for millions of dollars in completed and ongoing private revitalization projects, including the Phillips Packing House project in Cambridge. The repurposed structure of this building will be called the Packing House and will serve as an active, mixeduse development designed to support the local food economy and the emerging industries related to food and farming.
“Our strength, our vitality is food production, our farms and our fisheries,” Parks said. “Just as the Packing House once anchored the world’s food processing industry, it will again be an anchor for the next generation of food and farming related innovation.”
The food component, which includes a shared kitchen and incubator, an oyster bay, a food market and a butchery, will build off the Eastern Shore’s agricultural resources and growing local food economy to create a food and farming exchange.
The Packing House, Parks said, is part of a larger revitalization strategy referred to as the Packing District, which includes the Packing House, the adjacent Cannery Park and the factory housing in the Pine Street neighborhood.
“I hope you all have a chance to see this incredible structure and understand its history,” Cardin said. “But more important understand the future.”
Cardin said none of this could be done without local partners.
He spent a moment talking about the HTC and said he wants expand it because it is so critically important.
“At one time, there could have been as many as 10,000 jobs here,” Cardin said. “That’s amazing, but by the use of the creativity that is in this room, the tools that we have available, we’re going to bring jobs back to this location. That ... is very exciting because it is about, first and foremost, economic growth.”
Cardin said this place have a future and it sounds like a place to have fun and will improve the quality of life in the area. It is something, he said, that will lure in people from outside of the area to enjoy, also.
“It’s more than just bringing in economic activity. It’s about what kind of community we want to have here in the future,” Cardin said.
Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., visits Cambridge’s Phillips Packing Plant on Friday, March 10, to tour the building and discuss the Packing House, which is a Historic Tax Credit rehabilitation project.