Baltimore firm decides to move to the suburbs


An asphalt paving and highway construction company with 500 employees will shift its headquarters from Baltimore to Baltimore County next month, company officials say, because they were unable to obtain funding assistance from the Schmoke administration to move to larger quarters in the city.

Ratrie Robbins & Schweizer, the construction firm, and its parent, Bryn Awel Corp., will move from their current headquarters at 2313 St. Paul St. to the former Servomation building at 803 Gleneagles Court near Towson in 2 1/2 weeks, according to Bryn Awel chief financial officer Tom Hood.

Also moving to the new county site, Mr. Hood said, will be Bituminous Construction Inc., another Bryn Awel subsidiary, which is now located at 2700 Loch Raven Road.

The firms have a total of 500 employees -- 100 of whom will work in the main office and 400 of whom work mostly in the field. They have been based in Baltimore since Ratrie Robbins & Schweizer was founded in 1963.

Mr. Hood said the company needed to move because it was outgrowing its current space and wanted to have all its subsidiaries in one location.

He said company officials have ties to the city and wanted very much to stay there but were unable to find a building they could afford with 30,000 square feet of space and 150 parking spaces.

Mr. Hood said the firm was interested in moving to the former city school administration building at 3-5W. 25th St. and was part of a team that submitted a proposal to renovate it for office use when the city sought bids from developers more than a year ago. Other members of that team were Roy Kirby & Sons, which would have been the general contractor, and Frank Gant Architects, which would have designed the renovations.

Mr. Hood said there was a $600,000 to $800,000 gap between what it would cost the group to renovate the property and what it could afford to spend. He said his team asked city officials for funding assistance but never got any assurances that funds were available, even though team members made clear that they may have to seek space outside the city as an alternative.

He said officials from the Baltimore Economic Development Corp. never prepared much of a list of alternative sites.

City offices were closed yesterday and officials could not be reached. Housing department spokesman Bill Toohey said in the past, however, that housing officials have been unable to find a way to finance the renovation of the 25th Street property but were still working on it.

Mr. Hood said Bryn Awel and its joint venture partner, P. F. Obrecht and Son, are spending $3.2 million to get the Gleneagles Court property ready for occupancy and that the St. Paul Street building has been put up for sale for $950,000.

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