Citicorp has chosen the exact site for its East Coast credit card processing plant, which is expected to create at least 750 jobs for Western Maryland residents.
Maryland Bank Commissioner Margie Muller recently announced that the New York-based banking giant intends to build its plant on a 60-acre tract adjacent to the former Fairchild Industries plant, where the bank originally had planned to locate the facility.
The property is bordered by the Hagerstown airport, Interstate 81, State Line Road and Maryland Route 11.
"They are satisfied with the site. They are happy they don't have to be involved in the demolition of a plant," said Brent Johnson, the state's Secretary of Economic and Community Development.
Under terms of an agreement allowing Citicorp to set up credit card operations in Maryland, state officials initially had required the bank to locate its plant on the site of the former Fairchild facility.
But Citicorp was allowed to look elsewhere because the Fairchild plant proved to be unsuitable for its needs, meaning the bank would have had to spend $1.8 million to demolish the building.
Since then, a partnership established by Baltimore businessman Henry J. Knott Sr., chairman of the Towson-based real estate and development firm Arundel Corp., has forged a deal to acquire the plant from the Maryland Economic Development Corp., a quasi-governmental agency acting on behalf of the state.
The Knotts group intends to renovate the 44-year-old plant and subdivide its 1 million square feet into sections that would be leased to light industry, according to a partnership spokesman.
Bank officials say that Washington County would gain far more under the current arrangement than if Citicorp had been required to locate at the Fairchild plant.