Partnership points to a positive trend Moving: A new promotional campaign makes it clear that the welcome mat is out for businesses in downtown Baltimore.

September 21, 1996|By Liz Bowie | Liz Bowie,Sun Staff

Next week the slogans "Look Who's Moving Downtown" and "What's Up Downtown" will begin appearing on banners, signs and papers promoting Baltimore as a great place for business.

The advertisements are part of an attempt by the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore to capitalize on a glimmer of progress made in the past several months to stem the loss of jobs in the city and attract new businesses.

The Downtown Partnership, a quasi-public body which markets the central city as a good place to work, live and shop, says 60 HTC businesses have relocated or expanded their operations in the city this year.

One of those businesses, Treasure Chest Advertising Company Inc., was formally welcomed to the city yesterday in what Downtown Partnership's President Laurie Schwartz said she was not embarrassed to describe as a "feel good" ceremony.

The list of other companies which have moved to central downtown includes McDonald's Corp., which moved 60 employees and its regional headquarters; Bell Atlantic, which added 132 new employees; and Sylvan Learning Systems, which plans a 300-employee Inner Harbor headquarters.

The $250,000 effort, funded by the Abell Foundation, BGE, the city, NationsBank and the Downtown Partnership, will include advertisements in several publications, including The Sun.

The city still has a long way to go to bring Baltimore back to where it was in the 1980s. Since 1989, the city has lost an estimated 65,000 jobs, including 10,000 white-collar jobs in finance, insurance and real estate. And the losses will continue into next year as USF&G Corp. moves 800 employees from its high-rise tower in the Inner Harbor to Mount Washington.

In addition, the city still has a 15 percent vacancy rate in its office towers.

But city officials also hope the small resurgence they have seen will continue. Treasure Chest, which markets and produces advertising products, moved its headquarters and 12 employees here from California in October. The company has also moved employees to Baltimore from other East Coast offices. After deciding to relocate to the East Coast, the company chose Baltimore because it provided the best quality of life for its employees, said Donald Roland, the company's president and CEO. The company at 250 West Pratt St. has 75 employees, 48 of whom were hired in Baltimore.

Maryland's Business and Economic Development chief, James T. Brady, said Treasure Chest was a model company for the city because its leaders had made a commitment not only to locate in the Inner Harbor but to be active in community issues.

Pub Date: 9/21/96

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