HAMPSTEAD - An Anne Arundel County spice company wants to move to an industrial park here, but uncertainty about when a Route 30 bypass will be built could kill the deal.
Ralph A. Brunn, owner of Elite Spice Inc. in Jessup, has an option to buy 27 acres at an industrial park owned by Carroll County Health Services, the parent company of Carroll County General Hospital, said John F.
Gambatese, a member of the hospital's real estate committee.
Brunn would not comment about the contract, but said in an Oct. 10 letter to Gambatese that he probably would cancel his plans if it's not likely the bypass will be built in the next four years.
"Elite needs additional manufacturing space as soon as possible," he wrote. "Elite Spice has a fast-growing national spice manufacturing business and may be forced to locate more of its manufacturing capacity out of Maryland."
Atlee W. Wampler Jr., the hospital's real estate committee chairman, said Brunn has paid a deposit for the land, but the money will be refunded if the deal doesn't go through. Wampler would not reveal the amount of the deposit.
Gambatese said the sale price for the land is between $850,000 and $1 million.
Brunn wants to buy three lots in the 400-acre industrial park, at Routes 30 and 482, Wampler said. The proposed bypass would bisect the park, and the land Brunn wants would be near the bypass, he said.
In the last 10 years, the hospital has sold two other parcels in the park -- one to Ridge Engineering Inc. and one to WTTR radio. Most of the land is being rented as farmland.
Brunn, in a telephone interview, said his 2 -year-old company grinds spices and manufactures seasonings. It has 55 to 60 employees.
Brunn also owns Allied Export Inc. in Owings Mills, Baltimore County, which exports food supplies.
Engineering work is being done now on the Route 30 bypass, but no money has been allocated for construction, said Wayne Clingan, district engineer for the State Highway Administration. A target date for construction has not been set, he said.
In response to Brunn's letter, the Carroll Board of Commissioners wrote to Gov. William Donald Schaefer last week urging him to intervene with the state Department of Transportation to fund the project in this fiscal year.
"While we realize there are heavy demands of highway funding from other jurisdictions, we think the time is long past for Carroll County to be afforded a reasonable share of state funds so that we can be responsible partners in the economic development of Maryland," the commissioners wrote.
Clingan said money to buy a right of way for the bypass is available only to protect the area from development, not to buy all the land that would be needed for the project.
If federal and state gas taxes are increased, more money for transportation projects probably would be available and might help pay for the Hampstead bypass, he said.
State transportation officials will meet with the commissioners Thursday to discuss the bypass and other county transportation issues.
Gambatese, senior vice president at Random House Inc., said he and others on the hospital board would be pleased to have Brunn's company in the industrial park.
"It's a clean industry, and he wants to maintain a first-class facility," he said.
Eileen Fisher, of the county's Department of Economic and Community Development, said it sends a "critical message" to the governor if a business decides not to locate in Carroll because of delays in building a bypass.
"That's not a pro-business message," she said.