Ex­elon CEO voices sup­port for city

Baltimore Sun - - MARYLAND - By Sarah Gantz sarah.gantz@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/sarah­gantz

Ex­elon Corp. CEO Chris Crane on Fri­day re­it­er­ated the en­ergy com­pany’s com­mit­ment to Bal­ti­more in re­marks at the open­ing of the en­ergy gi­ant’s new of­fice tower in Har­bor Point.

The Chicago-based For­tune 100 com­pany, con­sid­ered the na­tion’s largest util­ity com­pany, agreed to re­tain lo­cal of­fices in a new build­ing as part of a 2012 deal to ac­quire Bal­ti­more-based Con­stel­la­tion En­ergy Group and Bal­ti­more Gas and Elec­tric Co. in 2012.

At Fri­day’s open­ing cer­e­mony, at­tended by Gov. Larry Ho­gan, Mayor Stephanie Rawl­ings-Blake and other of­fi­cials, Crane said Ex­elon’s com­mit­ment to Bal­ti­more goes be­yond the build­ing.

“This is our home, too,” Crane said. “It’s a ma­jor stake we’ve put in sup­port­ing the com­mu­nity.”

Be­yond Ex­elon’s role as a large em­ployer and eco­nomic driver, Crane said Ex­elon takes se­ri­ously its re­spon­si­bil­i­ties to pro­mote eco­nomic devel­op­ment and busi­ness growth, and im­prove the city for its res­i­dents.

More specif­i­cally, Crane said in an in­ter­view, he wants Ex­elon to play a big­ger role in job train­ing and devel­op­ment for ca­reers in build­ing trades.

“A big fo­cus for us is we’ve got our busi­nesses run­ning right, we’ve got the in­vest­ments go­ing in, now how can we make more of an im­pact in the com­mu­nity and help raise Bal­ti­more up,” Crane said.

As its new of­fice went up, Ex­elon gave $450,000 to two Bal­ti­more or­ga­ni­za­tions, the Cen­ter for Ur­ban Fam­i­lies and the Job Op­por­tu­ni­ties Task Force, to sup­port pro­grams aimed at pro­vid­ing job skills train­ing to low-in­come and un­em­ployed Bal­ti­more res­i­dents.

The money will sup­port 216 par­tic­i­pants in the Cen­ter for Ur­ban Fam­i­lies’ STRIVE pro­gram, which pro­vides job readi­ness train­ing. Jump­Start, a con­struc­tion train­ing pro­gram by the Job Op­por­tu­ni­ties Task Force, en­rolled 63 peo­ple with Ex­elon’s sup­port.

Ex­elon will main­tain its in­vest­ment in lo­cal job train­ing and will work with state and lo­cal lead­ers to im­prove train­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for lo­cal res­i­dents, Crane said.

“With this build­ing, Ex­elon has sent a pow­er­ful mes­sage,” Ho­gan said. “This state-of-the-art head­quar­ters will show­case Ex­elon’s tech­nol­ogy and sus­tain­abil­ity, and I have no doubt that it will also have a tremen­dous pos­i­tive ef­fect on devel­op­ment here in the city of Bal­ti­more.”

The 20-story build­ing will house 1,500 em­ploy­ees of Ex­elon and Con­stel­la­tion, now a whole­sale and re­tail en­ergy sup­plier based in Bal­ti­more. Those work­ers are in the process of re­lo­cat­ing from of­fices at 750 E. Pratt St. and 111 Mar­ket Place.

In ad­di­tion to Ex­elon, the build­ing in­cludes 103 apart­ments, 750 park­ing spa­ces and 40,000 square feet of re­tail an­chored by fur­ni­ture re­tailer West Elm.

It is part of the 27-acre Har­bor Point devel­op­ment be­ing built on the site of a for­mer chromium plant. Con­cerns about pol­lu­tion at the site com­pli­cated the project.

In his re­marks at the event, U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin re­called tour­ing the closed site with other of­fi­cials, try­ing to de­cide “whether we could ever — ever — get this piece of prop­erty back into eco­nomic use,” he said.

“Out of those ashes we now have head­quar­ters for a For­tune 100 com­pany,” Cardin said.

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