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Arbutus Area Targeted for Economic Development

UMBC and southwest county one of eight areas to target investment, economic development, report suggests.

The area around , Halethorpe and neighboring communities in the southwest area of the county is one of nine investment areas identified in a new strategic plan released by the Baltimore County Department of Economic Development.

The report identifies challenges and assets that can be leveraged to improve economic growth employment, according to the report.

“It’s a good first draft,” councilman Tom Quirk said of the report. “It’s good to have a macro vision."

Among the assets cited in the report that provide a competitive advantage for this area:

An existing technology and industrial business community

  • Proximity to federal laboratories, the National Security Agency and Fort Meade
  • The revitalization of Catonsville
  • The production of a skilled workforce at UMBC and CCBC
  • A university-affiliated and major business incubator
  • Proximity to I-95 and BWI Marshall Airport
  • Robust and redundant data connectivity
  • Low cost, high capacity industrial and office space in Halethorpe

A large federally designated “historically underutilized business” (HUD) zone along Washington Boulevard in Halethorpe, which offers employers tax incentives as a state enterprise zone, has attracted companies such as , , and .

State officials said that the area offers a supply of industrial capacity that is convenient to rail lines, interstates and the airport.

UMBC and its associated tech parks are another major factor contributing to economic growth in this part of Baltimore County, Quirk said.

“UMBC is one of our best strategic assets,” he said. “Some of the work there leads the way to foster entrepreneurship, particularly in cybersecurity and green technologies. We all benefit from having that intellectual base here.”

The report also identifies several projects characterized as “game changers” that would enhance the prospects for economic development in the greater Arbutus area: 

  • Additional modernized office facilities
  • The modernization of older commercial buildings in Halethorpe and Lansdowne
  • Bolstering the area as a mid-Atlantic warehouse/distribution hub
  • The development of Spring Grove for new facilities for technology-based firms.

Several suggestions have been proposed to adapt unused property at , including the construction of a new Precinct 1 police station, a mix of office and retail space, and . The economic development puts dibs on space within Spring Grove for the expansion of start-ups similar to the tech parks on the southern side of the campus.

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