Council supports $2 million Amazon loan
The Baltimore County Council passed a resolution on Oct. 2 endorsing a $2 million conditional loan that could bring Amazon to Sparrows Point.
Reports indicate that Amazon is negotiating
with Sparrows Point owner Tradepoint Atlantic to potentially build a distribution center on the former steel mill site. While neither company has offered public comment on the reports, the project, if carried out, could bring up to $1,500 jobs to the redeveloped site.
If constructed, it would be the second local center for Amazon. The online retailer opened a distribution facility on Broening Highway, at the former General Motors site, in 2015.
Introduced last month and passed on Oct. 2, Council Resolution 87-17 declares support for the loan from the Maryland Department of Commerce to Amazon “for a distribution center to be located in Sparrows Point.”
“The Department [of Commerce] has determined that the attraction of a distribution center provides an economic development opportunity to Baltimore County as the loan proceeds will be used for costs associated with the acquisition, construction, leasehold improvements, site improvements, infra- structure improvements, purchase of equipment and other assets,” the resolution states, noting that the council has determined that “the Project is a priority.”
For his part, Baltimore County Executive (and current gubernatorial candidate) Kevin Kamenetz (D) supports the potential project.
“Amazon and their 1,500 jobs are a perfect fit for Tradepoint Atlantic,” he wrote in a Facebook post on Oct. 2, noting, “We are going to do everything we can to land them here.”
If the project proceeds, Amazon would join several other national companies setting up shop at the site.
FedEx celebrated the grand opening of its 300,000 square foot warehouse at Sparrows Point on Sept. 20. Under Armour is building a 1.8 million square foot distribution center set to open next summer.
Other tenants include Harley-Davidson, which operates a Riding Academy at Sparrows Point, and Pasha Automotive, which leases 21 acres to import and store cars at the site.
Tradepoint has also been working with US Wind and Skipjack Offshore Energy to potentially manufacture wind turbines at Sparrows Point. The turbines would be placed into service off the coast of Ocean City.
The Maryland Public Service Commission approved the project in May, with a stipulation that the companies put $39.6 million into upgrading port facilities at Tradepoint and invest $76 million into a steel fabrication plant in the state. However, the future of the project is uncertain, as the turbines remain controversial.
If constructed, the Ama- zon center at Sparrows Point would not be the muchsought-after Amazon headquarters bid on by Baltimore City, Prince George’s County and other localities across the country. County Executive Kamanetz, as well as Gov. Larry Hogan (R), has already thrown his support behind the city’s bid for that project.
Tradepoint Atlantic is redeveloping the former steel mill site at Sparrows Point.
Amazon could bring a local distribution center to Sparrows Point, just miles from its warehouse on Broening Highway.