The Girl Scouts of the United States of America broke the hearts of economic development officials in Baltimore and three other cities yesterday when it announced that its national headquarters would remain in New York, its home since World War I.
Baltimore was one of four cities in addition to New York being considered as a possible home for the scouting group's headquarters, which employs 500 workers. Also in the running were St. Louis, Atlanta and Cleveland.
The decision was made by the organization's National Board of Directors, which met Monday in New York.
"Needless to say, we are disappointed," said David L. Gillece, president of the Baltimore Economic Development Corp., which led the city's efforts to lure the scouting organization here.
Mr. Gillece said he was notified by the Girl Scouts Monday evening that the organization would remain in Manhattan.
The decision will be reviewed periodically, he said, "But we don't know if that means that they will take a look at that decision in six months or take a look at that decision in six years."
In a short news release issued yesterday, the organization said, "After considering several U.S. cities, the Girl Scouts elected to remain in New York because of the city's diverse and skilled work force, favorable occupancy costs and accessibility to transportation."
Deborah Mason, a spokeswoman for the group, said that she did not know what the board meant when it said its decision would be reviewed periodically.
But Ms. Mason noted the organization has looked into the possibility of relocating three times during the past 30 years.
In its news release, the Girl Scouts said that in early 1990 it became apparent that its headquarters building at 51st Street and Third Avenue would require major renovation.
Working with the independent consultant firm of Moran, Stahl, and Boyer, a task force of the national board determined that renovation was not viable. The organization considered relocating but decided to remain in New York.
The national board has not decided whether to build a building in New York or find a suitable facility.
The Girl Scouts limited the competing cities to three sites each as potential locations for the headquarters. Baltimore's proposed sites included the former B&O Warehouse in Camden Yards near the new baseball stadium; the USF&G building; and Inner Harbor East, a 20-acre parcel at the foot of Falls Way, between the Inner Harbor and Fells Point.
The Girl Scouts of the United States of America has nearly 2.5 million girls and more than 780,000 adults as members; 99 percent of the adults are volunteers.
The organization is affiliated with similar groups in 117 other countries.