The weak economy has brought far more Army employees with their jobs than originally expected.

"I think it's good, because most of those jobs are not entry-level jobs. Much of the experience you only gain on the job, with the Army," Richardson said. "We are seeing a lot of hiring even so, and I think what this will do is it will continue to have a strong mission at APG and will allow the Army to do succession plans to fill those slots."

City's boost mixed

Outside the APG gate, defense-related office park projects like the Corporate Office Properties Trust's North Gate Business Park and Merritt Properties' Aberdeen Corporate Park are being developed inside the Aberdeen city limits.


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Aberdeen Mayor Mike Bennett said he has seen both positive and negative fallout from BRAC.

He thinks the process has generally been what he expected, although he would like to see more commercial impact.

"I was hoping for a little bit more, and I think we are starting to see more of that come," Bennett said. "I was hoping to get more of the support things, like different retail stores and maybe a few more restaurants here and there, but again, my sense is those things are coming and we know of some other things that are coming down the road."

Bennett said traffic has definitely increased, and the improvements and benefits aimed at BRAC were for the federal government, not local communities.

He noted traffic jams at Route 22 have become noticeable, as more people leave the post in the afternoon, and use WestBel Air Avenue through the heart of town as an alternate route.

"There's been a lot of issues with the traffic and it's going to get worse," he said.

But overall, Bennett said he has been pleased with what BRAC has brought, noting that four substantial office parks have moved in or are in the process of doing so.

Consultants, contractors and related businesses have also moved in.

"I think the impact has been very positive, and we have got a lot of new businesses either come in or in the process of moving in," Bennett added.

Office developers busy

Office developers and leasing companies who have built new projects, or are about to build them, along Harford's Route 40 corridor, also seem optimistic about BRAC's influence even as the economy has slowed down.

Manekin LLC is getting set to complete the five-building Water's Edge Corporate Campus at Bata Boulevard and Millenium Drive, in Belcamp.

Tenants of the 295,000-square-foot campus include engineering, information security or defense-related companies like SafeNet, JANUS Research Group Inc., George W. Stephens Jr. and Associates, Inc., Applied Research Associates and Booz Allen Hamilton.

Joseph Bradley, senior sales and leasing associate for Manekin, said the first building was constructed in 2004 because there was no Class A office space in Harford County.

"Then BRAC came along and accelerated the project," he explained. "The impact has been significant on Water's Edge … Defense contractors that are primarily relocating from New Jersey have really focused on Water's Edge as the primary location off base, so we got a head start on some of the other developers."

He said the fourth building was delivered in July and is 70 percent occupied.