From Harford County government:
Harford County Executive Barry Glassman initiated plans Tuesday to consolidate the county’s economic development functions to improve services and promote local economic growth. The consolidation will move all Office of Economic Development operations to one of its existing locations, on the Route 40 corridor near Aberdeen Proving Ground.
Regarding the consolidation, County Executive Glassman said:
“While we are streamlining county government in response to fiscal pressures, we will do more than hope for an economic turnaround. We will lead the way as Maryland’s new center of opportunity. This consolidation will create synergies in service delivery and provide a modern one-stop-shop for business to launch, relocate, and grow in Harford County. The site’s proximity to Aberdeen Proving Ground will promote direct access to companies and cutting-edge technology. Consolidating on the Route 40 corridor will also further the area’s revitalization.”
Mr. Glassman’s administration initiated the consolidation in a request for the Board of Estimates to approve an addendum to the county’s existing lease at Swan Creek Village in Havre de Grace, site of the county’s GROUND FLOOR business incubator and Chesapeake Science and Security Corridor. The Board unanimously approved the request.
Karen Holt, acting director of the Office of Economic Development, said that the plan would improve the visibility of her department and its ability to cultivate business: “It’s a culture change, but it will serve to drive innovation here in Harford County, leverage the partnerships that reinforce our commitment to small business and avoid duplication of effort.”
Details of the planned consolidation appear below:
Office of Economic Development staff now located in the County Administration Building in Bel Air, and the Harford Business Innovation Center (HBIC) located in leased space in Belcamp, will join the county’s GROUND FLOOR and Chesapeake Science and Security Corridor at Swan Creek Village in Havre de Grace.
Consolidating all Office of Economic Development functions on the Route 40 corridor near APG will improve customer access to county services and promote collaboration through shared work space, including meeting areas, individual pods or hubs for phone calls, and a training center.
A business incubator will accommodate up to six start-up companies and will include an integration lab with proposed 3-D capability.
Technology will allow staff to host clients at a modern facility, and augment mobility for staff working offsite with clients and companies.
The consolidated space will bring local, state and federal resources together to support small businesses from concept to commercialization.
In addition to the benefits of increased economic activity, the net effect of the consolidation and related moves are projected to ultimately save money for Harford County government:
Overall space for Office of Economic Development functions will be reduced by approximately 3,500 square feet.
Ending the Belcamp lease will save $165,000 per year.
Newly available space at the county-owned County Administration Building will further reduce the need for leased space. Potential moves include the Department of Human Resources, now leasing space in Bel Air, which would save $72,000 per year.
Leased space at Swan Creek will increase by approximately 8,600 square feet at the same rate as the county’s existing lease for the GROUND FLOOR and Chesapeake Science and Security Corridor. Annual rent for the added space is approximately $197,000 plus taxes, maintenance, insurance and utilities. The county will also pay for a one-time build out of the space, not to exceed $260,000. These costs will be partially offset by $52,800 in new rental income to the county. The income will come from assigned leases with existing tenants in an existing corporate commons area providing complementary services in computer training, web development, federal solutions and contracting services.