Coun­cil sup­ports $2 mil­lion Ama­zon loan

The Avenue News - - FRONT PAGE - By NI­COLE RODMAN nrod­man@ches­pub.com

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.

COUR­TESY TRADEPOINT AT­LANTIC

Tradepoint At­lantic is re­de­vel­op­ing the for­mer steel mill site at Spar­rows Point.

FILE PHOTO

Ama­zon could bring a lo­cal dis­tri­bu­tion cen­ter to Spar­rows Point, just miles from its ware­house on Broen­ing High­way.

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