Trade­point of­fers Point up­date at open house

The Dundalk Eagle - - FRONT PAGE - By NI­COLE RODMAN nrod­man@ches­pub.com

Twenty per­cent of the us­able acreage at the for­mer Spar­rows Point steel mill site is back in use, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials with cur­rent owner Trade­point At­lantic.

The in­for­ma­tion was re­leased dur­ing a pub­lic open house hosted at the 3,100 acre site last Wed­nes­day evening.

It was stand­ing-room only for the event, which drew elected of­fi­cials, com­mu­nity lead­ers, for­mer steel­work­ers and lo­cal res­i­dents in­ter­ested in progress at the Point, which has been in re­de­vel­op­ment since steel­mak­ing ceased five years ago.

The clos­ing of RG Steel in 2012 cost 2,500 em­ploy­ees their jobs.

Ac­cord­ing to Aaron To­mar­chio, vice pres­i­dent of cor­po­rate af­fairs for Trade­point, the com­pany ex­pects to sur­pass that num­ber of jobs on­site by the end of next year.

Currently, there are 800 em­ploy­ees on the site, in­clud­ing 75 Trade­point work­ers, as well as em­ploy­ees of the newly-opened FedEx fa­cil­ity, Ac­cess World and other ten­ants, as well as de­mo­li­tion and con­struc­tion work­ers.

De­vel­op­ment is slated to con­tinue un­til at least 2025. When all is said and done, To­mar­chio noted, Trade­point and its in­vestors ex­pect to have in­vested $2 bil­lion into the site. De­vel­op­ment in full swing

Eric Gil­bert, Trade­point’s chief de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer, elab­o­rated on the progress of de­vel­op­ment at the site.

Con­struc­tion on the new 1.3 mil­lion square-foot Un­der Ar­mour dis­tri­bu­tion cen­ter is near­ing com­ple­tion. Trade­point ex­pects to turn the build­ing over to Un­der Ar­mour in Novem­ber, with an ex­pected open­ing date of May 1, 2018. Un­der Ar­mour ex­pects to em­ploy 1,000 peo­ple at the site.

Sev­eral more build­ings are un­der con­struc­tion, Gil­bert noted, though ten­ants have not yet been fi­nal­ized. This in­cludes a one mil­lion square-foot build­ing as well as two “port-cen­tric” build­ings de­signed for the “han­dling and stor­age of bulk ma­rine com­modi­ties.”

Gil­bert did note that Trade­point is in the “fi­nal days of ex­e­cut­ing a longterm deal” with a “blue-chip name. “He did not re­veal the po­ten­tial ten­ant, though he did say that the com­pany fits well with the “class A lo­gis­tics park” be­ing de­vel­oped at the site.

Re­tail de­vel­op­ment is also kick­ing into gear on-site, with land be­ing cleared for seven free-stand­ing re­tail pads. One will be des­ig­nated as a gas sta­tion.

“We have signed our first re­tail deal,” Gil­bert re­vealed, though, again, he did not re­veal the name of the gas sta­tion/con­ve­nience store planned for the site. That deal, he promised, will be re­vealed soon. Dredg­ing process in works

Pete Haid, Trade­point’s en­vi­ron­men­tal di­rec­tor, de­tailed plans for main­te­nance dredg­ing at the site’s ports.

Ac­cord­ing to Haid, the site’s pre­vi­ous owner had” ne­glected” the nec­es­sary main­te­nance, leav­ing the chan­nels near the penin­sula badly in need of dredg­ing.

As Haid noted, sed­i­ment tends to set­tle in ar­eas where the cur­rent is low — as it is around the penin­sula. The com­pany’s goal is to re­turn the chan­nels to their pre­vi­ous depths — 42 feet at the East/West Berth and 47 feet at the Fin­ger Pier.

Trade­point has sub­mit­ted a re­quest to dredge 200,000 cu­bic yards of ma­te­rial per year over five years. The work is done grad­u­ally so as to not over­whelm lo­cal dredge con­tain­ment fa­cil­i­ties.

Currently, the Mary­land Port Author­ity lim­its the dredge they ac­cept to ma­te­rial that is suit­able for re­use (as fill, build­ing ma­te­rial, etc.).

The dredge from chan­nels near Spar­rows Point, Haid ex­plained, “is a very good can­di­date for re­use,” though ad­di­tional sam­pling is re­quired.

Ad­dress­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns, Haid ac­knowl­edged that the type of sed­i­ment present in the wa­ter­ways would kick up eas­ily dur­ing dredg­ing, but would “dis­si­pate quickly,” about 700 feet from the point of dredge, ac­cord­ing to mod­el­ing done by the com­pany.

Mary­land Depart­ment of the En­vi­ron­ment is currently re­view­ing Trade­point’s ap­pli­ca­tion for a dredge per­mit. A pub­lic hear­ing on the mat­ter will be sched­uled for early De­cem­ber. Bus line starts ser­vice next year

Bus line ser­vice to the Spar­rows Point site will start in Fe­bru­ary 2018, ac­cord­ing to Tom He­witt, di­rec­tor of the Mary­land Tran­sit Ad­min­is­tra­tion’s (MTA) Of­fice of Ser­vice De­vel­op­ment.

MTA, at the re­quest of Trade­point, lo­cal elected of­fi­cials and res­i­dents, is es­tab­lish­ing the line as part of its “com­mit­ment to hav­ing ac­cess to job cen­ters in this re­gion,” He­witt noted.

There are two pro­posed align­ments to the new Lo­calLink 63 line — one via Bos­ton Street and one via East­ern Av­enue.

Both pro­pos­als fea­ture a high-fre­quency line trav­el­ing from Trade­point, up Penin­sula Ex­press­way to Dun­man­way and up Dun­dalk Av­enue to Johns Hop­kins Bayview Med­i­cal Cen­ter.

Bayview is where the two plans di­verge — one would con­tinue down East­ern Av­enue on its way to the In­ner Har­bor, while the other would take Bos­ton Street, end­ing in the same lo­ca­tion.

The high-fre­quency leg of the route would run ev­ery ten min­utes at peak times.

Lo­calLink 63 will con­nect to 24 routes in the city bus sys­tem, al­low­ing res­i­dents from across the city and parts of the county to travel to Trade­point with just one trans­fer.

A pub­lic meet­ing on the pro­posed line will be held on Wed­nes­day, Nov. 15, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the North Point Li­brary. A fi­nal de­ci­sion will be made in De­cem­ber, with the line go­ing into ser­vice on Feb. 4, 2018. Com­mu­nity con­cerns ad­dressed

Dur­ing the open house, com­mu­nity mem­bers got the chance to ad­dress Trade­point of­fi­cials.

Sev­eral res­i­dents raised con­cerns over plans to de­mol­ish the old main of­fices at the site.

Joe Lawrence, a vet­eran iron­worker, asked about the pos­si­bil­ity of sav­ing the “Besse­mer Arch” near the build­ing fol­low­ing de­mo­li­tion.

To­mar­chio con­firmed that the arch “will be pre­served” and will be placed in a lo­ca­tion on the site ded­i­cated to dis­play­ing his­tor­i­cal ar­ti­facts.

To­mar­chio also com­mit­ted to sav­ing bricks from the de­mol­ished build­ing, which Edge­mere res­i­dent Keith Tay­lor hopes to use to build a memo­rial to the work­ers at Spar­rows Point.

Res­i­dents also raised ques­tions re­gard­ing truck traf­fic to and from the site, in­clud­ing con­cerns over out­dated sig­nage di­rect­ing trucks into the Edge­mere com­mu­nity.

To­mar­chio noted that sign re­place­ment is un­der­way and will con­tinue.

He also noted that Trade­point and lo­cal leg­is­la­tors are work­ing to en­cour­age truck traf­fic to use Broen­ing High­way rather than neigh­bor­hood roads like Ho­labird Av­enue.

Part of the rea­son trucks avoid this route now is that trucks on southbound I-695 must pay a toll at the Key Bridge in or­der to exit at Broen­ing, even though they are ex­it­ing be­fore the Key Bridge, not cross­ing it.

Rather than pay this toll, trucks tend to use neigh­bor­hood road­ways as a de­tour.

Dur­ing the last Gen­eral As­sem­bly ses­sion, Del. Robin Gram­mer (R-6) was pri­mary spon­sor on a bill seek­ing to cre­ate a by­pass lane to avoid the toll.

This did not pass, but the state will ad­dress the is­sue dur­ing a planned re­design of the Key Bridge toll plaza in 2019.

As the meet­ing con­cluded, To­mar­chio also ad­dressed con­cerns re­gard­ing the lack of man­u­fac­tur­ing at the site so far.

The com­pany is in talks with man­u­fac­tur­ers now, To­mar­chio noted, though he did not name any po­ten­tial ten­ants.

He con­cluded, “We have a di­ver­si­fied ten­ant po­ten­tial here at Trade­point At­lantic.”

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PHOTO BY NI­COLE RODMAN

Eric Gil­bert, Trade­point’s chief de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer, dis­cussed de­vel­op­ment at the site.

COUR­TESY MDOT MTA

The pro­posed East­ern Av­enue align­ment of the Lo­calLink 63 line to Spar­rows Point.

COUR­TESY TRADE­POINT AT­LANTIC

Con­cept art show­cases plans for re­tail de­vel­op­ment at Spar­rows point.

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