UPS plans to build site in Balto. Co. 83-acre warehouse, distribution center may create 1,500 jobs

Boost to southeast revival

Official says project will expand tax base, cut residents' burden

February 27, 1996|By Liz Atwood and Kevin L. McQuaid | Liz Atwood and Kevin L. McQuaid,SUN STAFF

The move to revive southeast Baltimore County received a big boost yesterday as United Parcel Service announced plans for an 83-acre warehouse and distribution center that could bring as many as 1,500 jobs to the area.

The center in Rosedale could have up to 1.5 million square feet of warehouse and distribution space and cost $30 million, Kent C. Nelson, chairman and chief executive officer of UPS, told a business group in Baltimore. The Marshfield project will begin with a spring groundbreaking for a 250,000-square-foot speculative warehouse that should be ready for tenants by September.

"This is great news for the entire county," said County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger III. "The UPS project will expand our tax base, contributing to our efforts to provide quality services without burdening taxpayers."

Mr. Ruppersberger, who has tied Eastside revitalization plans to the financial stability of the entire county, said the most encouraging aspect of the center is that UPS has the faith in the county to build without having a tenant in advance. "We hope they will be a role model for other distributors."

County officials have been working for more than a year to revive the southeast area, which has lost 20,000 manufacturing jobs over the past 20 years because of restructuring at large companies such as Bethlehem Steel.

Recently, the officials began a multipronged attack on the region's problems -- a plan that includes razing dilapidated apartment buildings, building new parks and constructing a mini-Harborplace waterfront development in Middle River.

A community conservation program is helping to repair alleys and sidewalks, and to encourage homeownership. The economic development office also is marketing a new enterprise zone, which gives tax breaks to companies that expand within the zone or hire disadvantaged workers.

County officials began meeting with UPS in June, hoping to encourage development of the parcel that once belonged to CSX Corp., said Economic Development Director Robert L. Hannon. To nudge the project along, the county agreed to pay $1.3 million to extend Kelso Drive to the property and to include UPS' land in the county's new enterprise zone.

The number of jobs created by the Marshfield project will depend on which companies lease space in the park, but the project could bring 750 to 1,500 new jobs.

When UPS bought the property from CSX Corp. in 1990, it had planned to build a major eastern distribution center. Mr. Nelson said the company changed its plans more than a year ago and decided it no longer needed the property. But rather than sell the JTC land, UPS decided its property subsidiary should develop the parcel for other warehouse users.

Real estate agents have complained about a lack of modern warehouse space in the Baltimore area, but lenders have been reluctant to finance speculative space.

Paul Gilbert, Harford County's director of economic development, said lenders, especially pension funds, now are looking to invest in warehouse space.

He said Harford County expects to make an announcement about such a project soon.

"There's enough differentiation so that there will be little competition among counties," he said.

Two other developers -- Manekin Corp. and Security Capital Industrial Trust -- recently announced plans to begin speculative industrial real estate development in the Baltimore area in the next few months. Those two projects will add 1.2 million square ** feet of new distribution space to the market.

J. Richard Hutchinson, manager of UPS Properties, a subsidiary of the Atlanta-based delivery company, said he expects the Marshfield space to be taken quickly. "We're very optimistic that we'll have it leased before we finish construction," he said.

"This project will do exceedingly well, because of its location on Interstate 695 and Interstate 95, it has an abundant, experienced labor pool and there isn't a lot of competition from other industrial buildings," said J. Joseph Casey, president of Casey & Associates Inc. UPS Properties has retained that commercial real estate brokerage firm to lease the site.

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