A West German wallpaper manufacturing and distribution company will establish its American headquarters in a new business park south of Bowie, Prince George's County and state officials announced yesterday.
The firm, Pickhardt and Siebert Inc., will consolidate its Massachusetts and Ohio offices at a new $2 million, 40,000-square-foot facility on land it has purchased in Collington Center, the county's foreign trade center, according to county officials. The move will bring 25 to 35 jobs to the county.
Speaking at a press conference in Upper Marlboro, Ken Jones, executive vice president of the firm, said he chose the Collington site because of the room it provides for expansion as well as for its proximity to the Port of Baltimore.
The announcment marked the county's first taste of state efforts to lure new foreign businesses to Maryland, a project that has dovetailed with the county's own development tactics.
County officials hailed the company's relocation as proof the county's effort to promote itself as a haven for new white-collar business is working.
"It sends out the message to other international firms that Prince George's is a good county to do business in," said Lance Billingsley, chairman of the board of the Prince George's County Economic Development Corp.
County Executive Parris Glendening is seeking council approval for a $1.3 million industrial revenue bond for the wallpaper firm's new facility, which is to be built at the southeast corner of Trade Zone Avenue and Prince George's Center Boulevard.
"We are very pro-business and aggressive in attracting the kind of growth that would benefit the county," Glendening said.
Billingsley said the county expects to derive more in prestige than in jobs and tax revenue by attracting a foreign firm.
"We really do not have a significant unemployment rate in Prince George's County," said Billingsley. "What we have is pockets of unemployment. Over all the county, we don't want to create jobs. We want to create better jobs."
The county's unemployment rate, according to the latest state statistics, is 3.7 percent.
Two other firms already are located in the Collington Center development, and Billingsley said several new businesses will be announcing their intentions to move into the industrial park within the next month.
Michael S. Lofton, director of the business and industrial development office of the state Department of Economic and Community Development, said it is one of 10 to 15 firms expected to relocate in Maryland next year.
Pickhardt and Siebert is one of 30-35 foreign firms Lt. Gov. J. Joseph Curran met with when he traveled to Europe in November 1983. Foreign-based companies located in the state employ 44,000 people, Lofton said.