Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, the popular Kansas song goes. To the hundreds of thousands of workers who passed through the Bethlehem Steel Company, Sparrows Point was the Earth and Sky. In its century-long tenure it helped win the two World Wars and contributed to the American skyline from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco to the George Washington Bridge in New York City.
With its closure in 2014 many believed only ruins would be left of the 3,100 acre property like so many former steel mills across the United States. Not here. With its $110 Million purchase, Tradepoint Atlantic began their extraordinarily vision to make the former Steel Mill the newest hub for activity and employment across Maryland and across the Globe.
Major companies have already lined up to purchase space. FedEx was the first tenant and picked up 305,000 square feet for a distribution center. UnderArmour signed on to build a national distribution hub, which will create 1,000 jobs in Baltimore County alone. Pasha Automotive has set up shop on 21 acres for their roll-on/roll-off operation of imported automobiles.
Part of the reason why companies are coming to Tradepoint Atlantic is because of its access to rail, highway and deep waters. The site boasts an impressive short-line railroad with access to CSX and Norfolk Southern. Its closeness in proximately and transit access to the Port of Baltimore make it well situated for intra-state, inter-state, and international commerce.
One of the most crucial steps in making this idea a reality was the Baltimore Gas and Electric’s (BGE) Smart Energy Economic Development (SEED) Program. The program operates by allowing businesses to reduce their charges for service extensions as well as allows for energy distribution charges to be temporarily decreased. BGE’s goal in creating this incentive is to create a stronger Maryland. By decreasing many of the barriers to entry, more businesses will be able to either start or grow, creating more jobs, more income, and more services.
In addition to the BGE SEED Program, Tradepoint Atlantic is utilizing State legislation, which exempts them from the 6 percent sales tax for construction goods and warehouse equipment, as well as the Chesapeake Enterprise Zone property tax credits and the designation of the site as a Foreign Trade Zone.
These programs realize that when one business flourishes, other businesses gain from the spillover effects, and that when all businesses flourish, people flourish.
Along with industrial and manufacturing jobs this development seeks to create commercial, office and retail jobs through the construction of office buildings, hotels, shops, and grocery stores. Within 10 years Tradepoint Atlantic is hoping to create 10,000 jobs through this project.
This whole idea is about bringing jobs back to Maryland. With Tradepoint Atlantic’s vision and BGE’s help we hope this project is the beginning in a long future of economic expansion, which builds on the shoulders of the former Bethlehem Steel Mill.