Maryland

Alsco Expansion Creates More Jobs in Prince George’s County, Maryland

Alsco, a global company proving linen and uniform services to customers on five continents, is expanding its operations in Prince George’s County, MD.

Alsco

Photo – alsco.com

The company, which recently hired over 40 employees for this new Prince George’s County economic development project, already employs 225 people at this site in Lanham, MD, and expects to create another 30 jobs by the end of this year.

Alsco will be hosting a grand opening for its new Maryland facility next week.​ The company currently services nearly 1,600 customers in Maryland and Washington, D.C.

Back in 2012, Alsco paid $6.5 million to purchase the 84,000-square-foot space, located at 4900 Philadelphia Way in Lanham, from Cohen Companies. This gave Alsco a new and unoccupied industrial space in the Washington Business Park, and the company has since made good use of the space to install state-of-the-art systems that process more than 125,000 pounds of laundry each day.

Governor Larry Hogan said in a statement that “Alsco has been serving customers in the region for more than 60 years and we are very pleased that they have chosen to expand and add jobs in Maryland.”

As a result of their expansion, the company is eligible for a number of state and local tax credits, including a Job Creation Tax Credit program administered by the Maryland Department of Commerce.

Maryland Commerce Secretary Mike Gill said in the statement that “From their new facility in Lanham, Alsco will be able to reach their hundreds of customers in the region more rapidly.”

Jim Divers, Alsco’s director of sales and marketing, noted that “This multi-million dollar facility demonstrates our continued commitment to provide excellent service to our customers and employment for more than 250 individuals in the local area.”

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III likewise added that “They have found an outstanding location in Lanham from which to serve the region, and with our growing economy, especially the hospitality sector, we have great confidence that Alsco will prosper in its new home.”

Alsco is a family owned and operated business that was founded in 1889 as a door-to-door delivery by horse-drawn cart business in Lincoln, NE. The company is credited for inventing and shaping the linen and uniform rental industry, and also for inventing the continuous towel dispenser, and pioneering the use of garment lockers. Alsco now has over 16,000 employees across more than 150 branches worldwide serving over 350,000 customers.

Johns Hopkins Leads $69M BLocal Baltimore Economic Development Initiative

A Johns Hopkins-led coalition of 25 Baltimore-area businesses have together unveiled a new initiative that will leverage their vast collective investment and purchasing capabilities to create more economic opportunities for residents.

BLocal Baltimore

BLocal Baltimore (photo – hopkinslocal.jhu.edu)

This new Baltimore economic development program, aptly named BLocal, will infuse at least $69 million into local and minority-owned, women-owned, and disadvantaged businesses over the next three years.

These 25 founder members of BLocal will now actively spend more on design and construction contracts with local and MWBE firms, hire residents from Baltimore’s most distressed communities, and spend more purchasing dollars with local and MWBE vendors.

For instance, Baltimore-based utility BGE has committed to a supplier diversity goal equal to 23 percent of BGE’s 2016 total procurable spend (22 percent, or $185 million, in 2015), and to partner with other BLocal members to share best practices on ways to increase diversity spend in all organizations.

BGE, founded in 1816 as the first gas utility in the United States, is now Maryland’s largest natural gas and electric utility that delivers power to more than 1.25 million electric customers and more than 650,000 natural gas customers in central Maryland.

The company has also created a capacity-building program called Focus 25. The core purpose and objectives of this program are to support Maryland economic development, assess diverse supplier capacities to make available curriculum and coaching support, provide a forum for sharing small business best practices, recognize and leverage the diversity brand as a competitive advantage, and add to smaller firms’ ability to compete.

See the full list of 25 founding members of BLocal and the specific commitments of each organization.

BLocal is inspired by and builds on Johns Hopkins’ HopkinsLocal initiative. After the launch of HopkinsLocal, the idea for BLocal began to take shape when a group of Johns Hopkins trustees asked how they could join in Johns Hopkins’ efforts.

Ronald J. Daniels, president of Johns Hopkins University, said in a statement that “HopkinsLocal is our comprehensive approach to leverage Johns Hopkins’ economic power to do more to build, buy, and hire locally.” Daniels added that building on that promise, BLocal aims to help bolster a local economy, not on a project-by-project basis, but through a collective, deep-seated change approach.

Ronald R. Peterson, president of Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System, noted that when Trustee Mike Hankin, president and CEO of Brown Advisory, reached out to them, “it quickly became apparent that many businesses in the city are committed to expanding opportunities and looking for ways to provide an even stronger economic engine for the people of Baltimore.”

Both Daniels and Peterson have been named as co-chairs of BLocal, along with BGE CEO Calvin J. Butler Jr.

Maryland Has a Six-Step Strategic Plan For Economic Development

Maryland Secretary of Commerce Mike Gill announced the release of a new strategic plan for accelerating economic development in Maryland.

Maryland Strategic Plan For Economic Development

Photo – maryland.gov

Created by the Maryland Economic Development Commission (MEDC), the plan outlines six steps that include:

– Achieve Operational Excellence – through the adoption of customer service standards, training, orientations, and performance review;

– Foster a Competitive Business Environment – by assessing the impacts of taxes and the effectiveness of financing programs and tax credits;

– Advance Innovation and Entrepreneurship – by tapping into education and innovation communities through workforce development initiatives and embracing a culture of commercialization;

– Expand Targeted Industry Clusters – by means of collaboration, ambassador programs, workforce development initiatives, partnerships, and industry advisory boards;

– Create One Maryland and Enhance Community Development – by increasing touchpoints by Commerce staff in the local jurisdictions and engaging underserved populations and businesses of all sizes; and

– Improve Brand and Talent Attraction – by leveraging the Maryland Public-Private Partnership (P3) Marketing Corporation and the state’s major economic drivers and regional organization.

Sec. Gill said in a blog post unveiling the plan that it “outlines the state’s economic forecast, achievements we’ve made in the past year, and how Commerce can continue leading the charge in Maryland. Simply put, it’s our plan to put people back to work in good, family-supporting jobs.”

Last year in Oct, the former Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development became the Maryland Department of Commerce. The enacted legislation, which now exists as Sections 2.5-201 through 2.5-207 of the Economic Development Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, also reformed the scope and composition of the MEDC. The new MEDC’s responsibilities include the creation, in conjunction with the Department of Commerce, of an economic development strategic plan to grow, attract, and retain businesses and jobs in Maryland.

The new MEDC’s Chair Anirban Basu,​ who is chairman and CEO of the Sage Policy Group (SPG), is ideally suited to fulfill the MEDC’s new responsibilities. Basu has served as Director of Applied Economics and Senior Economist for RESI, and has earned a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University. He has written several high-profile economic development strategies, including for Baltimore City and Baltimore County, MD.

In the foreword of the Maryland Strategic Plan report, Basu and the MEDC’s Strategic Plan Subcommittee Chair James T. Brady write that “This is a document that primarily supplies strategies and tactics to position the Maryland Department of Commerce as an operational center of excellence to support robust economic prosperity in the state.”

“It is expected that the new Department of Commerce will help improve Maryland’s relative and absolute economic performance even further. Agency operations have begun to improve under the leadership of Maryland’s Secretary of Commerce. This strategic plan is intended to further guide Commerce’s organizational progress.”

See the full Maryland strategic plan for accelerating economic development – Download (pdf)

2U Headquarters With 900 New Jobs a Major Victory For Prince George’s County, MD

Educational technology company 2U Inc. (NASDAQ: TWOU) announced the selection of Lanham, MD as the location for its new and expanded headquarters operations.

2U

Photo – 2u.com

The project is supported by $3.5 million in financing provided through the Maryland Economic Development Assistance Authority and Fund (MEDAAF) and Prince George’s County Economic Development Incentive (EDI) Fund.

2U is leasing space at the 325,000-square-foot Harkins Road building in Lanham, relocating its headquarters operations to this location, and plans to create 900 new jobs over the next five years.

2U’s Platform, a fusion of cloud-based software-as-a-service technology and technology-enabled services, has enabled it to partner with leading colleges and universities to deliver the online degree programs. The company, which is already headquartered in Prince George’s County, has grown its workforce over the past five years from 98 to 1,007 employees, including more than 600 employees currently working in Prince George’s County.

2U CEO and co-founder Chip Paucek said in a release that “With the assistance of the Maryland Department of Commerce and Prince George’s County, our new headquarters will support our growth as we continue to acquire new university partners, launch new programs and empower the world’s greatest universities as they build great digital versions of themselves.”

In order to secure the 2U headquarters relocation, the Maryland Department of Commerce is providing a $2 million conditional loan to the company through the Maryland Economic Development Assistance Authority and Fund (MEDAAF) program. Prince George’s County is additionally providing a $1.5 million conditional loan through its Economic Development Incentive (EDI) Fund.

Governor Larry Hogan said in a statement that “Working with 2U and our partners in Prince George’s County, we are proud to support this innovative company’s new headquarters and the creation of hundreds of jobs.”

Apart from 2U’s investment and job creation plans, the project also supports Prince George’s County economic development by diversifying the local economy and creating redevelopment opportunities for the Harkins Road Building.

The 325,000-square-foot property had been lying vacant after CSC vacated it due to the loss of a government contract. 2U’s lease of this space for its headquarters and the new jobs the company is creating will further reduce dependence on government contracts that are under threat due to federal budget cuts.

County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III billed 2U’s decision to relocate to the once vacant Harkins Road building as a major victory for Prince George’s County. “Not only have we successfully retained an award-winning  technology business that is recognized as one of the fastest growing companies in the Washington region;  it also supports our TOD (Transit Oriented Development) strategy to expand this type of development at key locations around the County,” added Baker.

GSA Kicks Off Phase II of FBI Headquarters Relocation RFP

The U.S. General Services Administration is moving forward with several steps necessary for ensuring a timely completion of the site selection process for the relocation of the FBI headquarters.

FBI Headquarters

FBI Headquarters (photo – Kmf164/wikipedia)

For starters, GSA has issued Phase II of the Request for Proposals (RFP) to bidders competing for the project. The chosen developer will get title to the J. Edgar Hoover Federal building in Washington, D.C. and will, in exchange, agree to construct a new 2.1 million rentable square-foot headquarters facility for the FBI at a site that is yet to be finalized.

The GSA has shortlisted three proposed sites (Greenbelt and Landover in Prince George’s County, MD, and Springfield, VA) as eligible sites to serve as the future headquarters of the FBI. Last year in October, GSA notified the short-listed bidders that they been selected to participate in Phase II. In November, GSA released the draft Environmental Impact Statement, held public meetings in each of the three local jurisdictions, and is in the process of reviewing public comments.

In addition to this latest Phase II RFP issual, GSA also announced that $1.4 billion in construction funding for the project will be included in the President’s FY 2017 Budget so that GSA can make an award for the project in FY 2017. A down-payment of $390 million to begin the initial design, engineering and construction of a new fully consolidated headquarters has already been included in the recently passed Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 (Omnibus Bill).

Bill Dowd, project executive for GSA’s Public Buildings Service, said in a release that “The consolidated headquarters facility will allow the FBI to perform its critical national security, intelligence, and law enforcement missions in a new modern and secure facility. We appreciate Congress’ support of the project through the inclusion of $390 million in the Fiscal Year 2016 Omnibus.”

This is a critical economic development project for both Virginia and Maryland. An FBI headquarters relocation to Prince George’s County could bring 11,000 jobs to Maryland, which is already home to more than 40 percent of FBI employees, as per a Maryland state report.

In response to GSA’s Phase II RFP issual for this project, the Prince George’s County Council issued a statement appreciating the strong and continuing advocacy of US Senators Mikulski and Cardin, Representatives Hoyer and Edwards and the entire Maryland Congressional Delegation, as well as Governor Hogan and former Governor O’Malley.

The County Council said in the statement that they remain committed to attracting transit-oriented Prince George’s County economic development opportunities that create jobs and grow the local economy, and “look forward to continuing our work with all stakeholders in the months ahead as the General Services Administration moves closer to a final decision on the FBI relocation site.”

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III noted that following over four years of work by Prince George’s County to support the two most competitive sites available to host the consolidated FBI headquarters, this announcement by GSA is a welcome and critical step toward a final decision.

“We look forward to a historic announcement that the FBI is coming to Prince George’s County, forever reinventing our County’s economy,” added Baker.

Pride of Baltimore II Gets Maryland Economic Development Funding to Promote City and State

Pride of Baltimore Inc. and the State of Maryland have entered into a new public-private partnership to promote economic development for the state and city of Baltimore.

Pride of Baltimore II

Pride of Baltimore II (photo – pride2.org)

New Maryland economic development funding will allow the historic Pride of Baltimore II schooner to expand its economic development activity in the state, around the country and in other nations.

Under a new agreement, the state will commit $1.5 million to Pride of Baltimore Inc., the nonprofit that owns and operates the Pride, over the next three years. The organization will in turn use the funds to underwrite the Pride’s activities and expand its focus on selling Maryland as a strong economic market.

Governor Larry Hogan said in a release announcing the new partnership that “We are pleased to have a new partnership with the Pride and to have her help carry our message across the state, nation, and globe – that Maryland is open for business.”

Rick Scott, executive director of Pride of Baltimore Inc., added that “We are thrilled to have a new partnership with Maryland and we will be working closely with the Maryland Departments of Transportation and Commerce to promote economic development here.”

The original Pride of Baltimore was commissioned in 1977 and sank in a squall in the Atlantic Ocean in 1986. The Pride of Baltimore II was then launched in 1988. Both Prides have fostered economic development and tourism for Maryland, and have promoted Baltimore and Maryland by attracting millions of dollars in advertising value from the media generated by sailing.

Over the past 27 years, Pride of Baltimore II has voyaged to more than 200 ports in 40 countries and is one of the best-known U.S. sailing vessels in the world. It will again set sail to parts of Maryland during this year, and will take part in tall ships events on both the East Coast and in the Great Lakes next summer. At each of those events, the ship will once again share messages about the state.

Mike Gill, secretary of the Maryland Department of Commerce, highlighted how the Pride supports Maryland and Baltimore economic development efforts. “We know the value the Pride brings to our efforts to market Baltimore and Maryland to business leaders and entrepreneurs,” said Gill.

Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn likewise added that “As the Pride travels around our country, it promotes our state and largest city in a positive light.”

 

Maryland Launches Project CORE to Address Blight in Baltimore

Governor Larry Hogan and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake have announced a multi-year, multi-hundred-million dollar city-state partnership initiative to address blight in Baltimore.

Project CORE to address blight in Baltimore

Photo – maryland.gov

Project C.O.R.E. (Creating Opportunities for Renewal and Enterprise) kicked off in West Baltimore’s Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood, where the entire 1000 block of N. Stricker Street is slated for demolition.

The initiative will bring significant resources to bear for demolishing thousands of vacant buildings and replacing them with green spaces and a stronger foundation for redevelopment and reinvestment in the city.

Total estimated funding over the next four years for the demolition portion of the project includes $75 million from the state and in-kind administrative services from the City of Baltimore, equivalent to $1 for every $4 allocated by the state.

The elimination of blighted portions of the city will be supported by more than $600 million in financing opportunities from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, including more than $150 million in the current fiscal year alone
Gov. Hogan said in a release that “Fixing what is broken in Baltimore requires that we address the sea of abandoned, dilapidated buildings infecting entire neighborhoods…Working with the private sector to invest in projects like affordable housing, retail, and other new businesses will help ensure that Baltimore becomes a better place to live, work, and retire.”

Mayor Rawlings-Blake added that “Transforming vacant homes and vacant buildings into inviting green space and livable new developments is a critical part of our goal of attracting 10,000 new families to Baltimore City and dramatically improving the quality of life for current city residents.”

Under the terms of the four-year partnership, the State of Maryland and the City of Baltimore will focus on the transformation of blighted city blocks. The Maryland Stadium Authority will be responsible for overseeing the demolition of vacant structures jointly identified by Baltimore City and state authorities.

Once demolition is completed on a city block, empty lots will be replaced with green space and assessed for their potential to be redeveloped in the future.

Financing for these development projects will be made over the next four years through a range of innovative programs and partnerships, including the Rental Assistance Demonstration program and the issuance of potentially $200 million in revenue bonds.

The state’s commitment will encourage private sector developers to revitalize city neighborhoods through housing and other investments that will attract families and support Baltimore economic development.

In the first year of the program, the state estimates that approximately twenty city blocks can be completely cleared of blight. In subsequent years, the Maryland and Baltimore City Departments of Housing and Community Development will work together to establish demolition targets annually, with a goal of demolishing as many full blocks of blight as possible over the term of the project.

DOT Grant For Baltimore-DC Maglev Train an Economic Development Opportunity For Maryland

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has awarded a $27.8 million grant to the State of Maryland for the potential development of a magnetic levitation train between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, MD.

Northeast Maglev

Northeast Maglev (rendering- northeastmaglev.com)

This grant funding is part of the Department of Transportation’s commitment to supporting innovative efforts to strengthen intercity connections and create jobs. In 2005, Congress had authorized $90 million for maglev transportation projects that would be capable of safely transporting passengers faster than 240 miles per hour.

The Baltimore-Washington corridor was one of three corridors in the United States eligible to apply for these funds for Maglev projects. The funding that has been awarded to Maryland may be applied to preconstruction planning, engineering analysis, and other capital costs for fixed guideway infrastructure.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said in a release that the ability to travel between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. in only 15 minutes will be absolutely transformative, not just for these two cities, but for the entire state.

“This grant will go a long way in helping us determine our next steps in this transportation and economic development opportunity,” added Gov. Hogan.

The FRA grant has been awarded with the understanding that the Japanese government will be a source of significant financial backing for the project, along with private-sector support from Baltimore-Washington Rapid Rail LLC.

The Baltimore-Washington SCMaglev project is a privately sponsored initiative led by the Baltimore-Washington Rapid Rail. The train will provide a 15-minute ride between downtown Baltimore and downtown Washington, D.C., with an interim stop at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

It’s also an environment-friendly high-speed solution that will reduce rail noise and CO2 emissions in the northeast corridor. SCMAGLEV trains levitate inches off of the ground, so there is no noise or vibration caused by steel wheels rolling on rails.

Also, the trains are propelled by electricity from substations, so there is no diesel engine spewing smoke and pollution. CO2 emissions of the SCMAGLEV trains in Japan are estimated to be just one-third of a Boeing 777 airplane.

Japanese Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae said in the release that “Working with the United States Government, the State of Maryland and Baltimore-Washington Rapid Rail, we will prove that this cutting-edge Japanese technology will be a great asset to the busy Northeast Corridor.”

Wayne Rogers, chairman and chief executive officer for Baltimore-Washington Rapid Rail, noted that the SCMaglev project has the opportunity to transform not only Baltimore but the entire Northeast corridor.

The grant application was required to come through a public agency. So the Maryland Department of Transportation and the Maryland Economic Development Corporation applied as co-applicants for the grant on behalf of Baltimore-Washington Rapid Rail. With the federal funding now awarded, Baltimore-Washington Rapid Rail will be able to move forward to initiate planning and engineering analysis and review compliance and permitting.

US Economic Development Administration Grant For NUL Baltimore Entrepreneurship Center Program

The U.S. Economic Development Administration has awarded a $300,000 grant to the National Urban League for the development of a new Entrepreneurship Center Program in Baltimore, MD.

NUL Entrepreneurship Center Program

Photo – nul.iamempowered.com

The program will provide training and technical assistance to micro-business owners as well as entrepreneurs who have been financially affected by the recent unrest in the region.

Services including workshops, seminars, one-on-one counseling and mentoring provided by the NUL Entrepreneurship Center Program (ECP) in Baltimore will save or create an estimated 36 jobs in the first 12 months, and generate $1 million in contracting and bonding opportunities.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams joined Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and National Urban League CEO Marc Morial for the announcement.

Assistant Secretary Williams said in a release that this EDA investment will not only help Baltimore’s economy rebound, but it will provide new opportunities that will ultimately make it stronger and more resilient in the future.

“I applaud the Urban League for its efforts to support local businesses and build a brighter future for the people of Baltimore,” added Assistant Secretary Williams.

Mayor Rawlings-Blake likewise said that the Center will provide badly needed resources to dozens of entrepreneurs, and will contribute to Baltimore economic development. “These entrepreneurs will not only increase their own incomes and their own ability to provide for their families, but they will also be able to leverage their success to create jobs and opportunities for friends, neighbors and relatives who might otherwise remain unemployed or under-employed,” said Mayor Rawlings-Blake.

The Baltimore ECP joins other existing NUL ECP Centers that operate in in Urban League affiliate offices in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Chicago, Cleveland, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

Apart from seminars for startups and small/micro-enterprises as well as a series of weekly on-site workshops, the ECP will also provide individualized consultation for entrepreneurs enrolled in the program through staff and consultants as well as access to workspace, infrastructure, and equipment to support their ventures.

ECP centers help minority entrepreneurs take advantage of new business opportunities and qualify for financing that puts them on the path towards high-level business growth through the application of proper management skills.

NUL CEO Marc Morial noted that small businesses have always played a critical role as job creators and wealth generators, particularly in communities of color. “The Entrepreneurship Center Program opens up new business opportunities for minority entrepreneurs to qualify for financing and receive individual and group training,” added Morial.

Garrett County, Maryland Gets US Economic Development Administration Grant

The U.S. Economic Development Administration has awarded the Board of County Commissioners of Garrett County, MD a $1.3 million grant for the installation of a regional wastewater treatment plant system.

Strata Safety Products in Garrett County, MD

Strata Safety Products in Garrett County, MD (photo – strataworldwide.com)

This Garrett County economic development project will impact job creation not just in the county and Western Maryland, but also in the neighboring states of West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

The wastewater treatment plant in question provides critical water and sewer infrastructure improvements to multiple sites leased to Strata Worldwide within the Keyser’s Ridge Business Park, supporting jobs throughout Western Maryland and neighboring states.

Atlanta, GA-based Strata Worldwide is a leading global provider of safety products, services and technologies for the mining and energy sectors. In 2013, the company announced that Strata Safety Products, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Strata Worldwide, will be the first business to occupy the Keyser’s Ridge Business Park.

At that time, the company had announced plans to invest $1.6 million to construct a steel-framed, manufacturing facility on a five-acre parcel in the Keyser’s Ridge Business Park, and expected to create 25 new jobs. Strata is using this facility for research and development, customer service, and product management.

EDA’s investment supporting the water and sewer infrastructure upgrades to serve Strata and other businesses in the region will enable future expansions, creating jobs in manufacturing and distribution. According to grantee estimates provided to EDA, this project will create 500 jobs over the next nine years and result in the immediate retention of existing jobs in the area.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said in a release that this EDA investment will enable existing businesses in Western Maryland to maintain and expand operations, creating jobs and economic growth for the region.

U.S. Senator for Maryland Barbara Mikulski, vice chairwoman of the CJS Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the Commerce Department, said in the release that “this federal funding is great news for Western Maryland communities because it will support the creation of jobs today and jobs tomorrow.”

Congressman John Delaney (D-MD) noted that this is a triple-win for Garrett County. “The federal grant to Garrett County will create jobs, encourage more economic development, and help upgrade local water management infrastructure,” said Delaney.

U.S. Senator for Maryland Ben Cardin added that “the residents of Garrett County deserve proactive federal investments in their wastewater systems, making these EDA grants a wise investment in Western Maryland’s quality of life and economic growth.”

The Keyser’s Ridge Business Park, located in Grantsville, MD at U.S. Route 40 and I-68, was developed in 2003 by the State of Maryland with $2.5 million in funding through the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED).

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