Elkridge project moves forward

Work on Patapsco site might begin in spring

Business park to bring jobs

Development aims to help revitalize U.S. 1 corridor

January 20, 2003|By TaNoah Morgan | TaNoah Morgan,SUN STAFF

After more than a decade in planning, a business park in Elkridge finally is being developed, and warehouses and offices could be on the property by the summer.

Patapsco Valley Business Park, with nearly 200 acres on South Hanover Road, will largely be an industrial and warehouse center, and is expected to provide jobs in the greater Elkridge area.

The development is one the county has been watching closely, said Richard W. Story, executive director of Howard's Economic Development Authority, because the lot is one of the last remaining large parcels of commercially zoned undeveloped land in the county.

"The county was very interested in it because of the size of property and its strategic location near Route 100," Story said.

"We have attracted a number of prospects to the county, a number of which have looked at that property."

The 193.7-acre site has been owned by Patapsco Valley Development Corp. for more than 40 years, according to Michael Diffendal, vice president of development, and the company began development plans on the land in the early 1990s.

As late as 1998, plans for the project prompted local economic officials to study how to upgrade warehouses and manufacturing facilities.

But problems with the topography of the land have held the company at bay, Story said. Getting the parcel graded for construction required moving hundreds of cubic yards of dirt.

Residents who have waited for the development have grown accustomed to starts and stops. But David Grabowski, vice president of the Greater Elkridge Community Association, said it looks as if this time appears more certain.

"You've heard rumors for years," he said. "This guy who's developing the park has got to have some people [this time] because they're spending a lot of money."

Diffendal said the land has been divided into seven parcels, six of which are under contract. He said he expects the contracts to go to settlement in the spring, about when some of the early buyers could begin building.

He would not identify the companies that have the parcels under contract, but Diffendal said some likely would apply for building permits within the next few months. Most plan to build warehouse space, but a few have proposed other plans, he said.

"One or two are investigating flex space, and one is looking at a potential office building," Diffendal said. "I'm certain it will bring some jobs to Elkridge."

Story did not have an estimate on how many jobs the industrial park might provide, but he said the development would help the county's efforts to revitalize the U.S. 1 corridor.

But for anyone considering more flex or office space in that area, Robert Becker, vice president of leasing for MIE Properties, warns the market has been tough for the Troy Hill flex office park nearby.

"We have been fortunate that it has gotten a little better, but certainly not great," he said.

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