CHARLES COUNTY DOESN’T NEED to coax new businesses into the area, according to outgoing Director of Economic Development, John Reardon. What the County does need is more workspace to accommodate the stream of commercial entities impatiently waiting to move in.
During a recent interview with The Bay Net, Reardon spoke in detail about Economic Development Department (EDD) plans for the Highway 210 corridor from Bryans Road to Indian Head. The County is convinced that people in Bryans Road and Indian Head want more jobs in their area.
Although the Maryland Airport recently received FAA permission to expand its runways to accommodate larger aircraft, the proximity of the airport, hasn’t yet been a draw for projects to the area, according to Reardon. Even when the expansion is complete, the EDD estimates that it will only bring a maximum of about 200 new jobs to the area.
Evidently, businesses are more attracted to our county for its lower construction costs and large quantity of professionally skilled people. More businesses are interested in moving to Charles County in part, because the National Harbor conference center-office park, currently under construction in Prince George’s County, and the Woodrow Wilson bridge expansion gave Charles County more accessibility and visibility, according to Reardon.
“We have to thank them because they helped change the dynamics of the area,” said Reardon.
The proximity of the naval base at Indian Head and the National Harbor development project make technology and science businesses a natural fit for the Highway 210 corridor. Consequently, plans for an Energetics Technology Park are in the permit stage of their journey through county bureaucracy. The Park will be situated near Highway 210, on State Road 224 directly across from the Maryland Airport.
Plans for The Park
The Park is the result of an agreement between the University of Maryland, and local developers Facchina (of Waldorf) and Corporate Office Property Trust (of Columbia). When completed, the Park’s 250,000 acres will house research facilities for the University of Maryland’s Center for Energetic Concepts Development and other businesses with research and development ties to the Naval Base at Indian Head. The University of Maryland’s Energetics Technology Center alone will occupy a 50,000 square foot building in the Park.
Construction should begin in the spring of 2008. Reardon estimates that within 15 years the Park should bring in about 2,000 new jobs at a variety of professional skill levels. Indian Head NSWC is already the County’s largest employer at about 4,300 people.
According to the EDD, five additional ten