Quaker State signs lease in Carroll Park Big vacant building in struggling area of Baltimore

130 new jobs possible

Site may be used for synthetic oil and car wax lines

Commercial real estate

January 15, 1998|By Kevin L. McQuaid | Kevin L. McQuaid,SUN STAFF

Quaker State Corp. has signed a lease for one of the largest vacant industrial buildings in Baltimore through 2013, a move that is expected to generate at least 130 new jobs by the end of the decade.

The Irving, Texas-based oil refiner's lease for a former Montgomery Ward & Co. building will somewhat resurrect the largely derelict Carroll Park section of the city, which has been struggling despite its designation as part of the city's Empowerment Zone.

"It means long-term stability for the project, and it's 130 jobs, and 130 jobs isn't anything to sneeze at," said Hans F. Mayer, executive director of the Maryland Economic Development Corp. Medco), which bought the 32-year-old, single-story building for $5 million in 1994. "We're delighted that Quaker State will be part of the Baltimore business family."

A Quaker State subsidiary intends to use the 330,000-square-foot facility in Southwest Baltimore -- which until March had been occupied by PTP Industries Inc. -- to distribute and possibly manufacture Blue Coral car wax and synthetic oil beginning March 1, said sources familiar with the deal.

Officials from Quaker State -- which just last month announced plans to shutter plants and eliminate jobs nationwide as part of a company restructuring -- did not return numerous telephone calls for comment yesterday.

Under terms of its lease, Quaker State will pay roughly $13.5 million over the next 15 years to occupy the plant, sources said. Another Quaker State subsidiary, air freshener maker Medo Industries, occupies the other half of the Medco project.

Quaker State's lease costs are likely to be mitigated, however, by a financial incentive package from both the city and the state that is valued at more than $600,000, sources said.

"We've been in negotiations with Quaker State, and we look forward to working with them, but we're unable to discuss any of the financial incentives at this time," said Linda West, a spokeswoman for the state's Department of Business and Economic Development.

Quaker State, a company with $1.1 billion in assets, also is likely to gain tax breaks and other incentives for locating in the Empowerment Zone, a $100 million federal program aimed at eradicating urban blight.

Quaker State's commitment will erase a large amount of vacancy for the city, but it won't fully erase the loss of PTP Industries Inc., a packaging business that eliminated 600 jobs in March when it folded after a billing dispute with client America Online Inc.

PTP, which last week sought bankruptcy protection under the weight of more than $7 million in debts, continues to pursue its lawsuit against the computer service provider for breach of contract, William Hartley, PTP's president, said yesterday.

Pub Date: 1/15/98

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