By Alison Knezevich, The Baltimore Sun
7:38 PM EDT, October 9, 2013
Maryland's largest distributor of wine and spirits is moving its headquarters to White Marsh, taking more than 500 jobs from Anne Arundel to Baltimore County.
Baltimore County officials said Wednesday that Reliable Churchill will consolidate its offices and warehouses at a new facility at Baltimore Crossroads @95, a 1,000-acre, mixed-use business park on Route 43 near Interstate 95.
The site's size helped attract Reliable Churchill — as did the proximity to the interstate and the port of Baltimore, said Jim Lighthizer, a principal with Chesapeake Real Estate Group, which is developing the new 449,200-square-foot facility with Industrial Income Trust, a Denver-based real estate investment trust.
"That site can accommodate up to a million square feet, and Reliable just couldn't get anything that big anywhere else," Lighthizer said.
He predicted that Reliable's move would "draw a lot of attention" because the new facility will be one of the county's largest warehouses.
Baltimore Crossroads "has a lot of land to be developed, so I think this is good for the whole area," Lighthizer said. "It puts that location on the map for future companies that are considering larger facilities."
The company expects to finish construction by next summer, Lighthizer said.
Officials at Reliable Churchill could not be reached after the close of business Wednesday.
County Councilwoman Cathy Bevins, a Democrat representing Middle River, said she was thrilled about the jobs coming to the area. In 2006, the state finished an extension of Route 43 to open up large tracts that could be developed for employers. In April, St. John Properties and Somerset Construction announced plans for the 200-acre Greenleigh at Crossroads there, with a mix of 1,700 housing units, retail and office space.
"It's going be great for this area," Bevins said of the addition of Reliable Churchill. "Not only will people work here, they'll spend their money here — and I think it's going be huge for Crossroads. ... It boosts everything in the area."
Mary Burkholder, interim president of the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corp., said her staff worked to keep Reliable Churchill in Anne Arundel. But the company needed a space that just didn't exist there, she said.
"As much as we would have liked to keep them, we did not have the space capacity anywhere. ... I think if we had something in Anne Arundel County, we would have been in the running for sure," Burkholder said.
While disappointed that Reliable Churchill is moving, she said any negative economic impact to Anne Arundel is tempered by the fact that the company isn't moving far. Employees likely won't move, she said.
Burkholder said she thinks it won't be difficult to fill the space Reliable Churchill is vacating in an industrial park in northern Pasadena. The park is large and has good access to the port and BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, she said.
"We believe there will be others who will be interested in the space," she said.
Reliable Churchill formed in 2002 through the consolidation of Reliable Liquors Inc. and Churchill Distributors LLC. The company is a unit of the Charmer Sunbelt Group, a New York-based firm that operates local alcohol distributors and brokerage houses in 13 states and the District of Columbia.
Baltimore Sun reporter Pamela Wood contributed to this article.
Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun