Fila USA, the fast-growing Italian athletic footwear manufacturer, plans to move its U.S. distribution center from suburban New York City to the Fort Holabird Industrial Park in Southeast Baltimore.
The distribution center, to be housed in a 100,000-square-foot warehouse, will receive footwear made in Italy, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and the People's Republic of China, and ship it to retail stores nationwide.
Fila plans to open the distribution center in April, according to Elaine A. Baker, the company's regional director of sales.
Yesterday, the firm took a step closer to that goal when the Baltimore Board of Estimates, a panel of the city's top officials, agreed to sell 8.5 acres of city land at the industrial park to the Abacus Corp. for $678,000.
Abacus plans to swap the land with Belt's Wharf Warehouses, a developer that wants to lease the land to Fila. Fila, which also makes clothing, has an option to build within three years an additional 60,000 square feet of warehouse space to accommodate other product lines.
Officials at the Baltimore Economic Development Corp., a city agency that helped arrange the land swap deal, said Fila's move to Baltimore will boost the city economy, bringing 40 jobs initially and more in the next few years.
Fila officials decided to move its distribution facility to be closer to its 21-employee Hunt Valley corporate headquarters, Ms. Baker said.