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Tradepoint Atlantic to light 'Star of Bethlehem' on Wednesday

The "Star of Bethlehem" at the former Sparrows Point steel mill.
The "Star of Bethlehem" at the former Sparrows Point steel mill. (Pamela Wood / Baltimore Sun)

The developers of the old steel mill in Sparrows Point will light the mill's "Star of Bethlehem" on Wednesday.

The 196-bulb star shone each December from atop the mill’s L Blast Furnace from the time it was built in 1978 until the plant was closed for good in 2012. It was dubbed the “Star of Bethlehem,” both for Bethlehem Steel, the company that ran the mill for generations, as well as for Bethlehem, traditionally regarded as the birthplace of Jesus, whose birth is celebrated at Christmas.

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Tradepoint Atlantic, which bought the steel mill property in 2014, salvaged the 28-foot-wide star from the blast furnace before it was imploded in early 2015.

That year, Tradepoint Atlantic officials affixed the star to the property’s water treatment plant — a spot that’s visible to motorists crossing the Key Bridge toward Sparrows Point. The company has been holding star-lighting ceremonies with hot chocolate and a few speeches ever since.

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This year’s star-lighting ceremony is planned for 5 p.m. Wednesday at the treatment plant at 6010 Shipyard Road. Visitors should follow Bethlehem Boulevard to the western side of the property where it turns into Riverside Drive, then follow signage to the event.

Tradepoint Atlantic is a joint venture of local firm Redwood Capital Investments and Hilco, a Chicago-based redevelopment and liquidation firm. Tradepoint aims to turn the old mill into an industrial campus with shipping, transportation and light manufacturing uses.

Some of Tradepoint’s tenants so far include Pasha Automotive, which imports vehicles; FedEx, which operates a distribution center; Under Armour, which plans to open an e-commerce fulfillment center next year; and Amazon, which recently signed a deal to build a massive distribution center. Tradepoint recently announced that Royal Farms will anchor a commercial center to be called the Shoppes at Tradepoint Atlantic.

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