The industrial development in eastern Baltimore County that was once home to Bethlehem Steel has been given new life. The 3,100 acre Tradepoint Atlantic site at Sparrows Point is projected to bring 17,000 direct and indirect jobs—plus 21,000 construction jobs–and around $3 billion in economic impact, according to a study by Sage Policy Group.

Tradpoint Atlantic, an industrial development area located where Bethleham Steel once employed much of Baltimore, will boast thousands of jobs once fully operational. (Courtesy photo)

The first ship to arrive at Tradepoint Atlantic will be coming from Pasha Automotive Services. It has yet to be scheduled for arrival, but officials say it could be a matter of weeks from now. Pasha will start out with 21 acres for their import auto operations, beginning with Fiat Chrysler, with the option to expand to 150 acres. The company will likely bring around 125 jobs to the site.

There are currently around 690 people working on site at Sparrows Point including those with the Tradepoint Atlantic company, the current operations at the waterfront, current construction work and the environmental consultants working on the environmental remediation after 125 years of contamination brought on by the site’s former steel mill.

“When we purchased the site in 2014 we prefunded $48 million and put it into a trust that would fund the cleanup of the site,” said Aaron Tomarchio, Tradepoint Atlantic’s vice president of corporate affairs. “The Sparrows Point that people have known will be a cleaner, greener facility than it has ever been in its entire lifetime.”

“Every business coming to Tradepoint Atlantic brings jobs and economic opportunity back to the Point,” Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, told the AFRO. “By leveraging assets built to support global logistics, manufacturing, e-commerce and marine trade, Tradepoint Atlantic is propelling the next generation of jobs for Sparrows Point.”

Under Armour announced its plans for a 1.3 million square foot ecommerce distribution facility in August, bringing between 1,000 and 1,500 jobs to their facility which is expected to open in summer 2018. FedEx Ground is in the process of completing construction on its facility and is expected to be operational by spring 2017, bringing in around 150 jobs.

Fronda Cohen, director of the commission on arts and sciences for Baltimore County, said that while some of these jobs will be in manufacturing, the vision for Sparrows Point is more geared toward supply chain ventures with the goal of making the peninsula a “world-class global logistics center.”

“Yes, sure there’s forklift operators, there’s truck drivers, those sort of classic jobs that come with that development, but increasingly the job skills that are needed in the new logistics for the 21st century,” Cohen said. “They can involve as much working a computer as working a forklift.”

Baltimore County’s Department of Economic and Workforce Development put together a Sparrows Point workforce unit that has targeted training and retraining the people who worked at the steel mill before it closed down to help them return to the job pool.

The team has also worked to partner with the Community College of Baltimore County to offer certification and associate’s degree programs for those interested in pursuing the new job opportunities on the way. They are also working with career advisors at high schools like Sparrows Point and Dundalk to highlight the types of job opportunities that are coming back.

“It’s hard to quantify the value of a job to the family who’s impacted by it,” Cohen said, echoing the County Exec.’s sentiments. “ truly has a commitment—his administration has a commitment—to be sure that those jobs are available and that prosperity is shared by everybody.”