Land plans to be shown County official to give ideas for business park at planning meeting

'Big users' sought for site

Infrastructure needed to draw firms to 400-acre property

March 31, 1997|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,SUN STAFF

Carroll County economic development officials have completed a preliminary development plan of the county's largest industrial property and are working on a marketing campaign to interest businesses in the Hampstead site.

Situated northwest of Route 482 and Route 30, the 400-acre tract is a prime location for large manufacturers and biotechnology firms, said John T. "Jack" Lyburn, the county's economic development director.

Lyburn plans to unveil a concept plan for the North Carroll Business Park at Hampstead's Planning and Zoning Commission meeting at 7 p.m. today at Hampstead Volunteer Fire Department, 1341 N. Main St., and discuss the county's efforts to begin infrastructure work there.

"If we can get a large tract of land ready to go with water, sewer and natural gas, we feel companies will want to come here. But we need to have it ready," Lyburn said.

The county owns about 75 acres of the North Carroll Business Park site, and Carroll County General Hospital owns an adjacent 325 acres. Lyburn said the county plans to market the two tracts as one large parcel.

Lyburn said the Hampstead property is on the "short list" of sites being considered by a major business prospect.

"We're going to go after the big users on this one," he said.

Gill Chamblin, a Carroll County General Hospital spokeswoman, said the hospital backs the county's efforts to develop and market the property.

"All along we have supported the county in doing what they felt was necessary to make this industrial land attractive to buyers," Chamblin said.

County economic development officials said the property would be ideal for a warehouse and distribution center, similar to the Georgia Pacific and Toys R Us operations established recently in Frederick County and the Saks Holdings Inc. distribution site in Harford County, said Kevin Grabill, the county's deputy director of economic development.

"If you get a huge user that needs several hundred acres to come in, that's a real preference," Grabill said. "But the reality is those users only come along very infrequently."

Carroll County's Industrial Development Authority, which markets property for county government, has hired Carroll Land Services to prepare the concept plan for North Carroll Business Park.

Lyburn said the county plans to begin grading and other predevelopment work on the property by summer to make it more attractive to businesses.

"We'll be moving some dirt soon," he said.

Earlier success

Lyburn points to the success of Westminster's Air Business Center to make his argument that the county's early investment in industrial land is crucial. A study released last week found that the county earned a $1.1 million profit on its purchase and development of the park, which adjoins Carroll County Airport on Route 97.

The County Commissioners encountered public criticism when they bought the 98-acre tract in 1969 for $506,000.

In Hampstead, where residential development will soon be at capacity, town officials are anxious to turn their attention to the use of local industrial land.

"We're pleased the county wants to take a pro-active approach in marketing the property," said Hampstead Mayor Christopher M. Nevin. "Any business we can get into the park will obviously be generating income for both the town and county.

Route 30 bypass

County and town officials point out that a demonstrated local interest in developing North Carroll Business Park may lead to a commitment by state transportation planners to make the long-sought Route 30 bypass a construction priority.

"The bypass obviously makes the property more marketable" by providing a way around Hampstead, Nevin said.

As development of the property moves forward, Hampstead officials said they expect to be closely involved in the process to ensure the appropriate use of the land.

"We don't want to see fast food on the corner, we don't want to see a shopping center," Nevin said. "We want to see home-grown businesses or businesses choosing to locate in the Hampstead area."

Pub Date: 3/31/97

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