Baltimore gets lucky

January 31, 1995

USF&G Corp.'s recent decision to leave its Inner Harbor signature building and concentrate operations at the Mount Washington corporate campus was dictated by bottom-line considerations. So is Bell Atlantic's announcement that it will transfer 600 mostly high-technology jobs from Pennsylvania and New Jersey to Baltimore.

"Baltimore was selected because it had the most space available -- and the lowest rates -- of any site selected," an internal company memo explained.

What is bad news for Philadelphia and Newark is good news for Baltimore's central business district. The relatively high-paying transfer jobs will be a much-needed boost for the Inner Harbor area's restaurants and service providers.

The whole communications spectrum is undergoing extremely rapid development.

The customer base of cellular telephone services is growing explosively. Regulatory changes are bringing closer the day when telephone services and cable television will merge to provide an information highway. "These are the jobs that look to the future and not the past," Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke remarked.

We urge the city to take advantage of this flood of newcomers by promoting nearby housing opportunities. After all, the out-of-towners arriving to work at Bell Atlantic's buildings at 1 E. Pratt St. and 320 St. Paul St. will be within walking distance of an array of desirable neighborhoods, ranging from Federal Hill to Mount Vernon.

Bell Atlantic's transfer to Baltimore comes as the Baby Bell continues to cut its work force. Rapidly developing new technologies enable it to do that. Because of those technologies, location is becoming less important than costs and the full use of existing office space.

We welcome the new Bell Atlantic employees to Baltimore and hope their move will provide the critical mass that is needed in order to draw outside technical vendors here as well.

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