Bank One and city finalize agreement

Incentive-laden deal guarantees new jobs

Development

June 15, 2000|By Gerard Shields | Gerard Shields,SUN STAFF

Baltimore sealed a deal yesterday to bring Bank One Corp.'s check-processing operation and at least 400 new jobs over the next four years to the city's east side.

The company will move into a 40,200-square-foot facility with a 162-car parking garage that will be built by the state in the 1000 block of E. Fayette St., under the agreement approved yesterday by the city Board of Estimates.

The nation's fourth-largest bank holding company chose Baltimore over 84 other cities that were trying to attract the company.

In making its selection, Bank One cited the available land near the new Pleasant View Gardens neighborhood and its proximity to Baltimore's main post office, considered one of the best in the nation.

The check-processing center will process 1 million checks a year. The city is providing $1 million in support of the project, including $250,000 to offset costs to build the parking garage and $750,000 to demolish and clean the property. The city is also donating the land through the Maryland Economic Development Corp.

"This has been a long time coming," said M. J. "Jay" Brodie, president of the Baltimore Development Corporation, the city's nonprofit economic development arm that helped negotiate the agreement. "It's a very exciting deal for the city of Baltimore and state of Maryland."

Bank One plans to open the center in the fall. Under the employment agreement, the company must hire 150 employees by Dec. 31, 2001, and 100 additional employees each year in 2002 and 2003. Another 50 will be added by 2004.

If the bank does not meet the employment goals, it must pay the city $500,000.

About 80 percent of the center's work force is expected to be entry-level workers who will earn between $20,000 and $30,000 annually.

Mayor Martin O'Malley expressed excitement over the jobs. The facility will mean new opportunity for residents in the area, O'Malley said. "This is a big deal," he said.

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