Kamenetz: Baltimore County won't make a play for Amazon project

Baltimore County won’t be making a bid for Amazon’s second headquarters campus after all.

Baltimore County officials initially touted several locations in the suburbs that might work for the e-commerce giant’s massive new project.

But County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said Friday he thinks a better approach is for leaders throughout the region to rally behind Port Covington in Baltimore city as a possible site for Amazon.

“The [county] Department of Economic Development floated some ideas, but after I drilled more deeply into it, I made the decision that the best interest of the state would be to unite behind the Port Covington location,” Kamenetz said in an interview.

While the county has “some good choices,” the state will have a better shot if everyone is united, Kamenetz said.

The possible county locations suggested for Amazon included: the Tradepoint Atlantic redevelopment of an old steel mill in Sparrows Point; the mixed-use Baltimore Crossroads development near White Marsh and the Spring Grove Hospital Center campus in Catonsville.

Officials with Tradepoint Atlantic declined to comment and the development team behind Baltimore Crossroads could not be reached for comment.

“The best choice for Baltimore City, Baltimore County, the region and the state is the Port Covington site,” Kamenetz said. “It checks off all of their boxes and that’s why I called on all of our state leaders to coalesce around Port Covington so that Amazon clearly focuses on the premier location and that improves our chances.”

Seattle-based Amazon announced last week that it is searching for a location to build a second headquarters campus that could employ 50,000 people.

Amazon’s wish list includes an initial 500,000 square feet of space in an urban or suburban area, with access to highways, airports and public transportation, as well as a qualified technology workforce in the area. Proposals are due Oct. 19. Amazon plans to choose a location next year.

Port Covington is a $5.5 billion redevelopment proposal for a large swath of South Baltimore that’s largely owned by Sagamore Development Co., the development firm of Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank. The mixed-use development will be anchored by a new campus for Under Armour and will be built over a 25-year time span.

Kamenetz explained his support for Port Covington in a guest editorial published on The Baltimore Sun’s website Friday. Hours later, Gov. Larry Hogan said he would personally pitch Amazon founder Jeff Bezos on the Port Covington site and would explore economic incentives for Amazon to locate in Baltimore.

Baltimore Sun reporter Erin Cox contributed to this article.

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