Se­nate can­di­date tours Spar­rows Point

The Dundalk Eagle - - FRONT PAGE - By BRAD KRO­NER bkro­ner@ches­pub.com

U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-8), who is run­ning for Se­nate, toured Spar­rows Point on Oct. 20 to learn more about the re­de­vel­op­ment of the for­mer Beth­le­hem Steel site.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from site owner Trade­point At­lantic briefed Van Hollen on the re­de­vel­op­ment plans and gave him a tour of the site.

“A lot of ex­cit­ing things are hap­pen­ing here to bring back jobs to this area,” Van Hollen said. “Look­ing for in­no­va­tive ways to use this iconic piece of land for a new gen­er­a­tion of jobs.”

“There were a cou­ple of ideas that were raised here [to pro­mote de­vel­op­ment,” Van Hollen said. “TIGER grants would be one. The other would be the Howard Street Tun­nel which ben­e­fits, ob­vi­ously, the Port [of Bal­ti­more] as well as ac­tiv­ity here, be­cause by al­low­ing dou­ble stack­ing, you make room — lit­er­ally make room — for more busi­ness in and out of Trade­point.”

Trade­point At­lantic is hop­ing to make sub­stan­tial profit from its use as a dis­tri­bu­tion hub.

The site features 3,100 acres of in­dus­trial zoned land, deep wa­ter ac­cess for boats and ac­cess to two Class I rail­roads with 100 miles of on­site track, as well as di­rect ac­cess to I-695 and the I-95 and I-70 cor­ri­dors. Through th­ese con­nec­tive chan­nels, Trade­point can reach 30 per­cent of the U.S. pop­u­la­tion in a one-day drive.

“The whole trans­porta­tion grid is ob­vi­ously a re­ally im­por­tant piece,” Van Hollen said, prais­ing the site’s con­nec­tiv­ity. “That’s why the TIGER grant is some­thing they’re de­vel­op­ing now. That sounds like a work in progress, but the Howard Street Tun­nel is some­thing where we’ve put for­ward a pro­posal for what’s called a FASTLANE grant. We’re go­ing to vig­or­ously pur­sue that. That’s re­ally es­sen­tial to job growth here and at the port.”

Trans­porta­tion In­vest­ment Gen­er­at­ing Eco­nomic Re­cov­ery (TIGER) grants are pro­vided by the U.S. Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion to fund in­no­va­tive in­fra­struc­ture pro­grams that sup­port eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

Trade­point of­fi­cials are con­sid­er­ing a TIGER grant pro­posal in 2017, but de­tails are “not fully de­fined,” said Aaron To­mar­chio, a com­pany spokesper­son.

Van Hollen said a pro­posal has been sub­mit­ted for a FASTLANE grant that would ex­pand the Howard Street Tun­nel to al­low dou­ble-stack trains to pass through. The Fos­ter­ing Ad­vance­ments in Ship­ping and Trans­porta­tion for the Long-term Achieve­ment of Na­tional Ef­fi­cien­cies (FASTLANE) pro­gram was started by the U.S. Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion to ad­dress America’s in­fra­struc­ture.

The Spar­rows Point site is pro­jected to be­come a new em­ploy­ment cen­ter as it con­tin­ues to be de­vel­oped. Ac­cord­ing to To­mar­chio, more than 700 em­ploy­ees work at the site. Col­lec­tively, they were paid more than $50 mil­lion in the past two years. The re­de­vel­op­ment will cre­ate 10,000 per­ma­nent jobs and 13,000 con­struc­tion jobs.

Com­pa­nies that have re­cently signed leases at Trade­point in­clude Un­der Ar­mour, FedEx, Pasha Au­to­mo­tive Ser­vices, Har­ley-David­son, and At­lantic For­est Prod­ucts. Un­der Ar­mour will bring 1,000 jobs to the site. FedEx will open in the spring.

The north­ern por­tion of the 3,100 acre site will be de­vel­oped for re­tail. To­mar­chio said that nearby com­mu­ni­ties are “un­der­served” by re­tail and that em­ploy­ers look­ing to lo­cate at Spar­rows Point would want re­tail busi­nesses to pro­vide ameni­ties for em­ploy­ees.

Re­porter Vir­ginia Terhune con­trib­uted to this report. Fol­low me on Twit­ter

@brad­kro­ner.

PHOTO BY BRAD KRO­NER

U.S. Rep Chris Van Hollen (cen­ter) toured the Spar­rows Point site’s ma­rine ter­mi­nal with (from left) Trade­point of­fi­cials Aaron To­mar­chio and Michael Pe­done.

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