By Todd Karpovich | Photography Courtesy of Tradepoint Atlantic
Tradepoint Atlantic is a prime destination for some of the region’s biggest distribution centers because of its state-of-the-art facilities, easy access to United States markets and proximity to the Port of Baltimore.
The sprawling site currently has 337 acres under construction, representing 3.4 million square feet. Tradepoint is built on the former home of Bethlehem Steel, which once employed tens of thousands of steel workers, and is carrying on that tradition of providing jobs for the local economy.
James J. White, Executive Director of the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Port Administration, credits Mike Mullen, Chairman of Tradepoint, for helping spur economic activity around the region.
“Mike Mullen and his team have done a great job,” White said. “We’re very excited about Volkswagen and Tradepoint’s efforts to help us remain the number one port in the nation for autos. We look forward to continuing to work closely with them to grow business and increase economic benefits for Maryland.”
Over the last year, Tradepoint has continued to work on evironmental commitments, prepare the site for additional development and modernize the Port facilities, according to Aaron Tomarchio, Tradepoint’s Senior Vice President, Administration and Corporate Affairs. Tradepoint has also been working on projects to expand infrastructure for water, sewer and electrical capacity.
In addition to its proximity to the Port, Tradepoint also has easy access to major rail lines and to highways that put companies within a day’s drive of one-third of the U.S. population.
“The mid-Atlantic and Baltimore, in particular, are very popular for this new distribution model that is starting to take shape in our economy,” Tomarchio said.
He said Tradepoint is a model for an effective public-private partnership. The firm has developed close ties with the MDOT MPA.
“The relationship with the Port of Baltimore is great,” Tomarchio said. “We have a synergy with the Port. There’s active coordination on the sales front with attracting shippers. We are able to make the case for an efficient distribution model off-port.”
During the past several months, Tradepoint has signed tenants who will provide thousands of new jobs:
- Amazon opened an 855,000-square-foot fulfillment center that will employ more than 2,000 people.
- Home Depot has leased 1.2 million square feet of space in two new distribution warehouses.
- Floor & Décor announced plans to open a 1.5-million-square-foot distribution center that will create 150 full-time jobs by the end of 2023.
- Volkswagen Group of America is building a 166,000-square-foot import-processing facility on 115 acres that will provide 100 full-time jobs.
“Through state-of-the-art facilities like this one, this powerful partnership is helping to solidify Maryland’s reputation as a business-friendly environment by bringing meaningful, transformative investment and thousands of good, high-paying jobs for our citizens,” Gov. Larry Hogan said about Tradepoint.
In late 2018, Perdue Agribusiness, a division of Perdue Farms, announced plans to build a $30 million organic grain receiving and storage facility at Tradepoint. This new site will help meet the rising demand for organic feed ingredients for Perdue Foods and other companies in the region. The facility will also include grain and oilseed processing/milling and support more than 25 new jobs.
“Expanding our grain operations at Tradepoint Atlantic and the Port of Baltimore will support the continued growth of our organic poultry production in the region,” said Perdue Farms CEO Randy Day.
Will Anderson, Director of the Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development, noted: “Perdue joins FedEx, Amazon, Under Armour and Pasha Automotive in recognizing the advantages of Tradepoint Atlantic — a great Sparrows Point location in the Port of Baltimore. Perdue’s organic grain and storage facility will feed their business and our economic growth through $30 million in new private investment.”
Tradepoint will eventually generate 11,000 permanent jobs and $2.9 billion in annual economic impact, while adding to Maryland’s gross domestic product “as one of North America’s most strategic commercial gateways.”
Tradepoint Atlantic aligns well with the mission of MDOT MPA. The site encompasses 3,300 acres and has two Class I railroads. Cargo that comes into Baltimore needs to be stored and deployed, and Tradepoint is well suited to handle these needs, which will ultimately attract more companies to the Port.
Last year, Tradepoint received a $20 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to further boost infrastructure, the largest amount allocated to any port in 2018. Because the public sector is dealing with budget deficits and high debt levels, it must be careful to allocate funds to developments that will support growth and generate a high return, according to Tradepoint officials. Therefore, the award to Tradepoint indicates that its importance to the economy — locally and nationally — is significant.
Acknowledging the Past
Tradepoint Atlantic has a partnership with the Baltimore Museum of Industry to create a long-term exhibit slated to open in 2021. The exhibition will be dedicated to the legacy of Sparrows Point and its 125-year history of steelmaking as the site of Bethlehem Steel — a vital catalyst for Baltimore’s industrial transformation.
“As we work on transforming Sparrows Point into a new center for global commerce, we are ever mindful that we are also the stewards of a rich American legacy that spans generations of Maryland families,” said Tradepoint’s Aaron Tomarchio.