BFI moves district office into city Ribbon-cutting Friday

employment expected to reach 260 one day

November 06, 1996|By Sean Somerville | Sean Somerville,SUN STAFF

Bucking a prominent trend, Browning Ferris Industries Inc., one of the nation's largest waste-management companies, has moved its district headquarters -- and 139 jobs -- from Baltimore County to Baltimore City.

BFI's district office, which serves customers in Baltimore City and Baltimore, Harford, Howard and Carroll counties, in July moved from its plant at 68th Street and Pulaski Highway to a new South Baltimore waterfront facility.

Company executives will join Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke Friday for a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The 33,000-square-foot building at 260 W. Dickman St. will house the company's truck maintenance and office operations.

"We had occupied the previous facility as BFI for 26 years, and prior to that, there was a similar operation there for more than 20 years," said Bill Booth, BFI's district vice president.

"We were in an outdated facility and we needed to give employees a nice place to work."

Booth said that the city was eager to have the property developed and that the community welcomed BFI.

"We have other reasons," he said. "Forty percent of our employees live in Baltimore City so it's convenient to get to work. A large percentage of our customers are in Baltimore City."

He also said the headquarters is close to the district's primary disposal site, the Refuse Energy Systems Co. plant, which turns trash into steam and electricity. BFI bought the land for the building from CSX Corp. in 1993.

The cost of the land and the building is about $5 million.

The district office employs clerical, marketing and sales workers, as well as mechanics, welders and truck drivers. Booth couldn't provide an average salary for workers yesterday.

Company officials say employment eventually will reach 260, but did not release a timetable. "Ten years ago, we had about half the employees we have now," Booth said.

BFI said it will pay about $700,000 a year in city taxes. "The growth and success of the cities is dependent upon the kind of partnership we have established here in Baltimore with BFI," Schmoke said in a statement.

Pub Date: 11/06/96

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