Port Covington. Tradepoint Atlantic.
There are two enormous, ambitious, even transformational redevelopment projects in the Baltimore region. Projects expected to bring tens of thousands of jobs to the region. Projects that will stimulate and create new businesses, commercial ventures and residential settings. Projects that will capitalize on their proximity to Baltimore’s world-class educational, cultural, scientific and research institutions. Projects that will benefit from Baltimore’s historic location as a nexus for transportation by sea, rail, road and air.
These projects are exciting for everyone in the region. The opportunities they create will extend throughout the metropolitan area.
Nevertheless, the plans for both beg the question — why not the BWI Business District?
The BWI Business District was established in 1985, along with the predecessor of the BWI Business Partnership, the BWI Commuter Assistance Center. Its goal was to bring together the businesses and hotels in the region, creating a better, stronger connection with BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, nearby Fort Meade and its largest tenant, the National Security Agency, plus numerous other federal, state and county government agencies. With the development of the Arundel Mills and its surrounds, a new major locus was created, adding shopping and entertainment venues.
Situated adjacent to one of the nation’s best airports, the District is just a few miles away from the Port of Baltimore; it spans major inter- and intrastate highways, like I-95, Route 295 (the Baltimore-Washington Parkway), I-97 and Route100; as well as rail lines used by national carriers such as Amtrak, CSX, Norfolk Southern and MARC, the state’s own commuter rail.
Nearby educational institutions include the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Anne Arundel, Howard and Baltimore County community colleges; Capitol Technology University, and the University of Maryland University College’s Dorsey Station Center, to name a few. The University of Maryland’s Baltimore-Washington Medical Center provides outstanding health care, with other major medical facilities just minutes away in downtown Baltimore.
Tens of thousands of highly-skilled and -educated employees already work at Fort Meade and BWI Marshall, and elsewhere you will read of their increasing levels of activity. Thousands more work for contractors and affiliated organizations that support their growing missions.
Arundel Mills continues to grow as a shopping and entertainment venue, with a new 17-story luxury hotel under construction at Maryland Live! that will boast a 1,500-seat event center.
If location is everything, the BWI Business District has it made. It features highway and rail connections; the airport and the port; educational, medical and research institutions; the nation’s foremost center for cybersecurity; and an educated and skilled workforce. Call up an aerial view of the region on your favorite Internet mapping tool and you’ll see a highly developed transportation network — interspersed with considerable tracts available for development.
Visionary leaders are forging ahead with Tradepoint Atlantic and Port Covington in Baltimore City; here, with BWI Marshall and Fort Meade in the middle of ample resources and infrastructure, what can be done to attract and facilitate the same kind of transformational development?
This is the challenge for the region and its leaders, in both the development community and in government. It’s also a question the BWI Business Partnership is uniquely positioned to help explore. During the coming months, we look forward to beginning this discussion and invite your interest.
Greg Pecoraro is the executive director of the BWI Business Partnership. He can be contacted at 410-859-1000 and gpecoraro @bwipartner.org.