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Tradepoint Atlantic shows off progress at Sparrows Point for Baltimore County officials

Members of the Baltimore County Council and Planning Board on Thursday toured Tradepoint Atlantic's redevelopment of Sparrows Point, where executives laid out their vision for the 3,100-acre site.

"It can't be done without support from government," Aaron Tomarchio, vice president of corporate affairs for the company, told the officials. "We're very proud to be in Baltimore County."

Leaders of Tradepoint Atlantic, which bought the site of the former Bethlehem Steel mill, touted the peninsula's potential for jobs in areas including logistics, cargo handling and manufacturing.

They've estimated that roughly 9,500 permanent jobs will eventually be created there.

Among the first tenants are Under Armour and FedEx, which are set to open distribution and warehouse facilities at the site.

The tour Thursday began at Tradepoint's marketing center, a building made of shipping containers.

A small bus took the visitors through the property. They passed towering cranes and piles of rubble — as well as endless rows of Volkswagen vehicles, which have been brought to Sparrows Point as part of the auto company's buyback program.

Tradepoint officials said there are 12,000 Volkswagen vehicles there now, and they are expecting thousands more.

County Councilman Todd Crandell, a Dundalk Republican, helped arrange the tour, saying he wanted his colleagues and planning officials to get a firsthand look.

Without seeing the property, "it's hard to appreciate the sheer size and magnitude of what's going on here," Crandell said.

The councilman said the job opportunities will be "an essential component of our future" in eastern Baltimore County.

"We've been devastated by job loss over the last 20 to 30 years," Crandell said.

Crandell's appointee to the planning board, Chris Haffer of Edgemere, said he was hopeful for what new jobs will do for the communities nearby.

"I am really excited that this is the kind of investment that can lead to jobs that can support families," Haffer said.

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