At Harbor Point building opening, Exelon Corp. CEO says: 'This is our home, too.'

Exelon Corp. CEO on new Baltimore office: 'This is our home, too.'

Exelon Corp. CEO Chris Crane on Friday reiterated the energy company's commitment to Baltimore in remarks at the opening of the energy giant's new office tower in Harbor Point.

The Chicago-based Fortune 100 company, considered the nation's largest utility company, agreed to retain local offices in a new building as part of a 2012 deal to acquire Baltimore-based Constellation Energy Group and Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. in 2012.

At Friday's opening ceremony, attended by Gov. Larry Hogan, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and other officials, Crane said Exelon's commitment to Baltimore goes beyond the building.

"This is our home, too," Crane said. "It's a major stake we've put in supporting the community."

Beyond Exelon's role as a large employer and economic driver, Crane said Exelon takes seriously its responsibilities to promote economic development and business growth, and improve the city for its residents.

More specifically, Crane said in an interview, he wants Exelon to play a bigger role in job training and development for careers in building trades.

"A big focus for us is we've got our businesses running right, we've got the investments going in, now how can we make more of an impact in the community and help raise Baltimore up," Crane said.

As its new office went up, Exelon gave $450,000 to two Baltimore organizations, the Center for Urban Families and the Job Opportunities Task Force, to support programs aimed at providing job skills training to low-income and unemployed Baltimore residents.

The money will support 216 participants in the Center for Urban Families' STRIVE program, which provides job readiness training. JumpStart, a construction training program by the Job Opportunities Task Force, enrolled 63 people with Exelon's support.

Exelon will maintain its investment in local job training and will work with state and local leaders to improve training opportunities for local residents, Crane said.

"With this building, Exelon has sent a powerful message," Hogan said. "This state-of-the-art headquarters will showcase Exelon's technology and sustainability, and I have no doubt that it will also have a tremendous positive effect on development here in the city of Baltimore."

The 20-story building will house 1,500 employees of Exelon and Constellation, now a wholesale and retail energy supplier based in Baltimore. Those workers are in the process of relocating from offices at 750 E. Pratt St. and 111 Market Place.

In addition to Exelon, the building includes 103 apartments, 750 parking spaces and 40,000 square feet of retail anchored by furniture retailer West Elm.

It is part of the 27-acre Harbor Point development being built on the site of a former chromium plant. Concerns about pollution at the site complicated the project.

In his remarks at the event, U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin recalled touring the closed site with other officials, trying to decide "whether we could ever — ever — get this piece of property back into economic use," he said.

"Out of those ashes we now have headquarters for a Fortune 100 company," Cardin said.

sarah.gantz@baltsun.com

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