Tradepoint Atlantic, the development entity behind the substantial ongoing overhaul of Sparrows Point in Southeast Baltimore County, has purchased the last remaining parcel on the peninsula: a shipyard once owned by the late, great Bethlehem Steel.
The company announced the acquisition this morning. The 150-acre piece of land gives Tradepoint Atlantic full control of Sparrows Point, with 3,250 acres in all.
“Today, we take another step forward in fulfilling the potential envisioned for this iconic site by incorporating the Sparrows Point Shipyard into our master plan,” said Kerry Doyle, Tradepoint Atlantic’s chief commercial officer, in a statement. “This enables us to move forward with the next phase of our project–modernizing infrastructure and enhancing connectivity throughout the industrial complex to attract additional world-class tenants that will create jobs.”
Among those tenants that have already secured space are FedEx Ground, which opened a distribution center there last summer; Under Armour, which plans to open its own distribution center there this year; and Amazon, which secured $2.2 million in forgivable state and county loans last year to open yet another Baltimore-area distribution center there.
Gotham Greens also announced plans earlier this month to open a 100,000-square-foot greenhouse at the site of the old steel mill sometime next year.
According to a release, the shipyard dates back to 1887, and was known at one point as a hub for building Liberty cargo ships during World War II. It also served as a ship repair yard. (One of the shipyard’s long-gone workers told The Washington Post in 1982 that when he began working there four decades earlier, “we had 16 building ways and we built one ship a day.”)
But that was during Bethlehem Steel’s heyday. The company spent decades in decline, cutting more and more jobs as companies took advantage of cheaper steel and other industrial labor overseas. The former Bethlehem Steel mill, once called the “Beast of the East,” shut down in 2012.
Tradepoint Atlantic has stepped in with an eye toward redeveloping the area into an industrial hub, taking advantage of its proximity to major highways, rail infrastructure and the Port of Baltimore.
The shipyard site has a graving dock and barge and vessel berths, as well as more than 225,000 square feet of warehouse space near the water, according to Tradepoint Atlantic.