Hunt Valley

Just 20 miles north of the city, this business hub is bustling with activity.

October 03, 2005|By ALEXIS SWEENEY | ALEXIS SWEENEY,SPECIAL TO BALTIMORESUN.COM

With the influx of large business campuses, there is now more to do in Hunt Valley than ever before. Restaurants, movie theaters, hotels and shopping centers built to accommodate business travelers provide many resources for locals and out-of town visitors. The Hunt Valley Towne Centre, revamped in 2005, only adds to the appeal.

The most famous corporation found in Hunt Valley is McCormick. The world's largest manufacturer of spices and seasonings has pumped sweet smells into its Hunt Valley environs for more than 30 years.

McCormick was one of the first companies to recognize this rural Baltimore County countryside as a potential business center. In 1962, it acquired holdings in Maryland Properties, Inc., a real estate company established to design, build and manage Greater Baltimore Industrial Park, a 435-acre tract of land. In 1970, McCormick opened a new 5,000-square-foot facility on the land, which had been renamed the Hunt Valley Business Community. Since then, McCormick has added research and development operations and a culinary center (where a full staff of chefs tests and develops products and recipes) to its Hunt Valley headquarters.

The business boom that McCormick started has continued unabated for more than three decades. In fact, it has accelerated in the past decade as high-technology, software development and communications companies have moved their operations to this once sleepy, now vibrant section of Baltimore County.

According to Baltimore County Infobank numbers from 2001, dozens of companies have leased or purchased more than 1.5 million square feet of space in Hunt Valley and created more than 4,000 jobs since 1990. Companies that make Hunt Valley their corporate or regional headquarters include Fila USA, MBNA America Bank, MCI, and PHH Corp. McCormick is the largest employer in the area -- with more than 2,000 workers -- followed closely by Becton Dickinson, Proctor & Gamble, Verizon, Lucent Technologies and Integrated Health Services.

The Hunt Valley Business Community -- bordered by Shawan Road to the north, York Road to the east, Warren Road to the south, and Route I-83 to the west -- remains the corporate center of Hunt Valley. Yet growth has pushed many companies -- including McCormick's corporate headquarters -- north to campuses in nearby Sparks and Loveton.

Just 20 miles north of Baltimore, Hunt Valley is a viable option for exploring the city and surrounding suburbs. Route I-83 provides a direct path into the city by car. Or, if you want to avoid the hassles of driving and parking in the city, the light rail serves downtown. There are two light rail stations in Hunt Valley: at Hunt Valley Centre with 85 parking spaces, and on Warren Road with 370 parking spaces. Round-trip fare from Hunt Valley is $2.70; daily passes are available for $3 and weekly passes for $14. Shuttle services are available during the light rail's "double tracking" construction, which has closed the northern part of the rail for much of 2005.

The Hunt Valley Towne Centre, on Shawan Road east of Route I-83, is the area's commercial hub. A $75 million renovation project has turned the once dormant mall into a vibrant outdoor shopping and entertainment destination, with restaurants, shops and a 12-screen movie theater. Here you'll find such retail outlets as Sears, DSW Shoe Warehouse, Dick's Sporting Goods and White House/Black Market, plus the 140,000-square-foot Wegmans grocery store, the first in the state for the popular upscale-yet-affordable chain.

Dispersed throughout the parking lot are many popular chain restaurants, including Outback Steakhouse and Carrabba's Italian Grill, which are bustling on weekdays with the after-work crowd and out-of-town executives. Be prepared to wait, even on a Tuesday night. Casual restaurants like Chipotle, Cheeburger Cheeburger, Noodles and Company and Panera also inhabit the new Towne Center

A sizable percentage of the restaurant's patrons are most likely business travelers that have booked rooms at nearby hotels. On International Circle, adjacent to the mall, you'll find the 146-room Courtyard by Marriott. The Courtyard offers an on-site restaurant (the Courtyard Cafe), lounge, room service, indoor swimming pool, exercise room and whirlpool. Next door is the Embassy Suites Hunt Valley,one of the more picturesque in town, with a garden atrium and waterfall. Suites include a bedroom, living room and kitchen. Guests enjoy a complimentary breakfast, evening social hour, indoor pool, sauna, exercise room, restaurant and lounge.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.