Selling the city DAP and IBM: Record price for tower and corporate relocation good signs for Baltimore.

November 01, 1997

THE SALE of the IBM tower at a record price for a downtown office building and the headquarters move of adhesive manufacturer DAP Inc. from Ohio to Baltimore bode well for economic growth.

IBM Corp.'s distinctive building at 100 E. Pratt St. was just sold for $137 million. The only other city sale of that magnitude happened 13 years ago when the 35-story USF&G Tower at 100 Light St. brought $100 million.

Farther east along the waterfront in Canton, DAP Inc. announced plans to move its corporate offices and research facility from the Dayton area.

DAP President John McLaughlin cited the city's airport proximity, the waterfront setting where DAP plans to move and cooperation of the governor and mayor. DAP already employs 160 people in a Sparrows Point factory, one eight in North America. By combining its headquarters and research, it plans to create another 110 jobs here, with salaries ranging from $20,000 to six figures.

Both of these transactions may be anomalies: Analysts consider the IBM tower sale unique because of its newness, size and prime location a block from the Inner Harbor. As for DAP, it had an existing relationship with the region due to its plant in eastern Baltimore County, and another not far away in southern New Jersey.

Still, the good news provides more tangibles for Baltimore to build upon. DAP's Mr. McLaughlin notes Baltimore housing prices were comparable to those in smaller Dayton and the most affordable among metro areas from Boston to Washington. It's a selling point this region should emphasize.

Baltimore has had other gains to tout recently, from turning the Power Plant into an entertainment venue to an explosion of non-profit headquarters in the city. Baltimore's role as a corporate center should not be regarded as fodder for the history books.

Pub Date: 11/01/97

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