Waste Management Inc., a waste collection, recycling and disposal company, has moved a regional office and truck maintenance facility from Elkridge in Howard County to Fairfield, an industrial peninsula of Southeast Baltimore, bringing about 140 jobs to the city.
The company invested $8 million in a new 23,650-square-foot complex on 11 acres on Fairfield Road, a section city officials have been targeting for commercial and industrial growth. Most of the peninsula is zoned heavy industrial with deep-water port access, extensive rail service and interstate highway access.
"This location is central to our existing customer base and positions us to improve our service and grow our business in Baltimore City and the metro area," John Blevins, district manager for Waste Management, said yesterday.
Chesapeake Real Estate Group, the facility's developer, had purchased 22 acres, completed an environmental cleanup and sold the 11-acre parcel to Waste Management before building the new facility for the company, said Doug Schmidt of Chesapeake Real Estate. The site had been a gravel lot used to store iron ore pellets for more than 30 years, Schmidt said.
The 1,300-acre Fairfield area has long been industrial, populated by chemical manufacturers, transportation companies and petroleum storage facilities. But much of the land sat vacant or underused as companies curtailed operations.
The city adopted an urban renewal plan for the area in 2004 and has spent about $11 million in road upgrades and storm drain improvements to pave the way for redevelopment, said Larisa Salamacha, managing director of industrial development for Baltimore Development Corp.
State legislation governing "brownfields" has made it easier to clean up and redevelop contaminated property, and much of about 400 acres of vacant or unused land has been redeveloped, she said.
Chesapeake Real Estate is also planning to redevelop a nine-acre parcel on the peninsula for a "build-to-suit" industrial use. The city selected the developer more than a year ago in a competitive bidding process to redevelop that site and is continuing to acquire property through condemnation.
With Waste Management's recent move, "We're hoping and the city is hoping this will further legitimize the area," Schmidt said.