TU’s commitment to neighboring communities results in RISE Zone designation

Newly approved RISE Zone near TU to spur economic development, job creation

By JAMIE ABELL on August 27, 2023

Aerial view of campus where the RISE Zone begins
The RISE Zone begins at the northeast corner of campus, where Burke Avenue separates the Scarborough and Prettyman dorms from 10 West. (Photo credit: Lauren Castellana | Towson University)

The Maryland Department of Commerce announced the approval of a new Regional Institution Strategic Enterprise Zone (RISE Zone) next to Towson University. The department intends the designation to spur economic development and job creation by allowing certain businesses within the zone to benefit from rental assistance and enhanced investment incentive tax credits.

"Towson University's impact as an anchor institution extends far beyond our campus community, and this RISE Zone designation further expands our ability to generate economic growth and business development for the region," says Melanie Perreault, interim president at TU. "We are thankful to have collaborated with Maryland Commerce and Baltimore County to support our community and its commerce."

The RISE Zone program identifies geographical areas with close ties to institutions of higher education or nonprofits affiliated with federal agencies. The program recognizes institutions that have demonstrated a history of commitment to economic development and revitalization in the communities in which they are located.

Recognized as a qualified institution in 2018, the RISE Zone designation announced in July 2023 will help Towson University expand and consolidate its entrepreneurship resources, including the university’s StarTUp at the Armory, which is already located within the zone. The designation will also help establish Towson as a hub for emerging businesses and drive economic development in the community. TU’s $2.1 billion annual economic impact makes it a sought-after partner for established businesses and startups alike. The recognition as a qualified institution paved the way for the official RISE Zone designation.

“Community partnerships are central to our identity at Towson University,” says Daraius Irani, VP of strategic partnerships and applied research. “The new designation expands our opportunity to work with businesses that support our mission, enhance our students’ learning experiences and create positive impacts for the community. This designation will help us build our footprint as a leader in technological innovation, entrepreneurship and a knowledge-based economy.”

The zone covers 419 acres reaching from the Scarborough and Prettyman dorms at the northeast corner of the university’s campus to a stretch of I-695 north of Kenilworth Avenue and covering the core of downtown Towson. This designation will last for five years, with the ability renew for an additional five.

“Maryland’s higher education institutions are among the most powerful and innovative economic drivers we have,” said Maryland Department of Commerce Secretary Kevin Anderson. “The RISE Zone designation will help Towson University leverage the immense creativity and talent of its people into meaningful economic growth for Baltimore County and for Maryland.”