MBNA means 3,000 jobs Regional headquarters to be established in Hunt Valley in April

February 26, 1997|By Kevin L. McQuaid | Kevin L. McQuaid,SUN STAFF Sun staff writers Liz Atwood and Sean Somerville contributed to this article.

Credit card giant MBNA Corp. intends to establish its mid-Atlantic regional headquarters in Hunt Valley in April, a facility that the company says will eventually employ 3,000 -- significantly more than originally projected.

At that size, MBNA would become Baltimore County's second-largest private employer and generate more than $700 million a year in wages, benefits and taxes to the region.

"The Hunt Valley area fit our needs, and was attractive from many perspectives," said Peter H. Frank, an MBNA spokesman. "We chose it primarily because of its location and because it worked well for our employees."

MBNA said yesterday that for its regional headquarters it would purchase an eight-story corporate office complex now owned by PHH Corp.

The Delaware-based MBNA also will likely invest tens of millions of dollars to expand the building significantly, company officials said.

While exact figures regarding the cost or size of the expansion have not yet been determined, MBNA's plans include developing three additional buildings and linking them with atriums to the existing building, according to MBNA and Baltimore County's economic development office.

Based on typical office construction costs and employee space requirements, MBNA would have to spend in excess of $60 million to acquire, renovate and more than triple the size of the 160,000-square-foot building.

MBNA, the world's second-largest credit card lender with $39 billion in loans, will begin occupying a portion of PHH's headquarters in April, and the building will be expanded in phases over several years.

No tax breaks sought

Frank reiterated that MBNA would not "seek or accept any tax breaks or financial incentives" in connection with the move.

PHH, in the midst of a $1.7 billion purchase by New Jersey-based HFS Inc., is expected to vacate the 11333 McCormick Road building once its deal with HFS is completed.

A shareholder vote is scheduled for late next month.

PHH had said in November, when the purchase was announced, that a takeover would lead to the eventual elimination of its headquarters, constructed roughly 20 years ago.

PHH employees are expected to relocate to another building the company controls in Hunt Valley, although some laid-off workers may be offered jobs with MBNA.

"I am delighted that MBNA is coming home to Maryland and Baltimore County," said Baltimore County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger. "MBNA's move to Baltimore County shows the strength of this jurisdiction as a location for first-class corporate facilities."

Ruppersberger, who is widely credited with helping to lure MBNA to the region, also credited former state Sen. Frank Kelly for his work in persuading the company to move here.

Both Ruppersberger and Kelly are personal friends of Charles M. Cawley, MBNA's president.

MBNA, which began in Maryland but moved its corporate offices to Delaware in 1982, selected the Baltimore area to become its fifth regional headquarters operation in mid-January. At the time, the company estimated that it would create roughly 2,000 high-paying jobs -- 33 1/3 percent fewer than its current estimate.

3,000 workers, eventually

MBNA says the 3,000 employees who will eventually make up the mid-Atlantic regional office will work in sales, customer satisfaction and assistance, marketing and other operations.

"The decision by MBNA to return home to Maryland will add strength to the state's continuing effort to expand our job base and enhance our business climate," said Gov. Parris N. Glendening. "MBNA has always been a good corporate citizen, and we know all Marylanders will benefit from their return."

Pub Date: 2/26/97

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