Anne Arundel County Executive James O. Lighthizer unveiled plans today for a new $100 million high-technology industrial and office park on 161 acres near Baltimore-Washington International Airport. Developers said the project will create 9,200 new jobs.
Lighthizer said the county will authorize the sale of $5 million in industrial revenue bonds to allow the developer to pay for internal roads, sewers and other improvements with money borrowed at reduced interest rates. In addition, the county and state have agreed to widen an access road and construct a new interchange with the Baltimore-Washington Parkway to aid the project.
Samuel H. Heffner, president of the Anne Arundel-based Dickinson-Heffner development firm, said that no tenants have been signed to occupy about 1 million square feet of space in the 29 planned buildings, but he said that three major firms he declined to identify have expressed interest.
Lighthizer said that he hopes that the industrial park will complement similar projects under way in Prince George's and Montgomery counties and in the city of Baltimore, although the new facility will "be in competition to a certain degree" with other areas luring high-tech tenants.
Last November, The Department of Defense announced that its new, sophisticated Supercomputer Research Center would be located in the Maryland Science and Technology Center in Prince George's. Lighthizer remarked today that it is the kind of project his county would like to have.
Ground for the Anne Arundel industrial park will be broken in April, said Heffernan, adding that he is hoping to draw a mixture of local and national firms to the site. The first of those firms, he said, is scheduled to move in late this year or in the spring of 1986.
To provide access to the park, Nursery Road will be widened from two to six lanes, and a new interchange with the parkway will be built, at a combined cost to the county and state of $3.3 million, officials said.
To allow such road improvements to be made before work begins on public projects elsewhere in Anne Arundel, the county designated the undeveloped site as a special tax district in April. Some tax revenues derived from the development will thereby be earmarked for use at the site.
Lighthizer called the parcel, which Dickinson-Heffner has owned about nine years, "one of the hottest pieces of real estate on the East Coast." He said the county was willing to commit itself to the project so early because of Dickinson-Heffner's track record in business development.
By Dickinson-Heffner's account, the firm has built 3.6 million square feet of privately owned office and high-technology space, including Airport Square at the airport and Baymeadow, a high-technology center south of Baltimore. Tenants include Wang Laboratories Inc., Lockheed Missile and Space, the National Security Agency and the Westinghouse Electric Corp. Defense and Electronics Systems Center.
About 10,000 persons are working at the Airport Square complex. Dickinson-Heffner is the third largest corporate taxpayer in Anne Arundel County, Heffner said. "The county has been committed to this type of project up there for a long time," said Jeff Stone, county economic development director. "We would have assisted anybody," he said. But Dickinson-Heffner's record was an advantage, he said.
Heffner said that if leases are signed with the three prospective tenants, they would occupy 300,000 square feet of space and initially employ about 1,500 persons.