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County Council OKs Plan to Designate Montgomery County Germantown Campus as RISE Zone

At the request of County Executive Ike Leggett, the Montgomery County Council has unanimously approved a resolution in support of a Regional Institution Strategic Enterprise, or RISE Zone designation for Montgomery College’s Germantown campus. RISE Zones are a State of Maryland economic development program that spurs business development near qualified higher education institution or nonprofits through tax credits aimed at key industries.

“I appreciate the Council’s strong support of this designation, which will be a win for the County, the College and the State of Maryland,” said County Executive Ike Leggett. “RISE Zone will help us better realize our vision for UpCounty and Montgomery College as an economic engine.”

The Council approved the plan to designate the Germantown Campus of Montgomery College as a RISE zone at a meeting held earlier this month.

With the support of the County Council, the College’s application now moves forward to the State for approval. Once the State approves the application, MC’s Germantown campus would become the first designated RISE Zone in Montgomery County and the fourth RISE Zone in the State of Maryland.

The RISE Zone builds on the long-standing partnership between Montgomery College and Montgomery County Government to develop the Pinkney Innovation Complex for Science and Technology on the College’s Germantown campus with the goal of stimulating economic development in targeted industries and facilitating the integration of job growth and workforce development.

Businesses locating in a RISE Zone or an existing business doing a significant expansion within the Zone, may qualify for real property tax credits and income tax credits related to capital investment and job creation. A business concierge with the Maryland Department of Commerce will be available to assist businesses with identifying and utilizing other State programs for which they might qualify, and with permitting and licensing applications.

The RISE Zone will be part of a growing ecosystem in the greater Germantown area to further the County’s workforce and economic development partnership with Holy Cross Hospital that anchors PIC MC, the Germantown Innovation Center and the College’s Bioscience Education Center.

“This is perfect timing to designate the RISE Zone for PIC MC as the campus looks to take off as a destination for businesses and jobs for the greater Germantown and UpCounty area,” said Lily Qi, Montgomery County’s assistant chief administrative officer for economic and workforce development.

“Montgomery College is grateful for the unanimous support of the Montgomery County Council in this important step in the RISE Zone application process,” said Acting Montgomery College President Stephen Cain. “The Council’s support advances the College’s efforts to increase economic opportunity in our County by connecting employers, education and training in one location—PIC MC. The approval of the RISE Zone will help the College attract innovative employers in targeted industry sectors who are eager to leverage connections to MC to grow local businesses and provide opportunities to students.”

With the future RISE Zone designation and the recent designation of Opportunity Zone, a federal program that attracts investments to low-income areas, the College is seeking a development partner for a multi-tenant building that will include wet lab space and office space for early stage companies. The RISE Zone tax credits are targeted at the County’s strategic industries and the signature curricula of the Germantown campus: biosciences, cyber security, information technology, and emerging technology.

Photos by Germantown Pulse.

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