Crown Cork to keep its plant in Canton Company plans $4 million face lift


Crown Cork & Seal Co. Inc. plans to spend $4 million to renovate its plant at 1200 S. Newkirk St. as part of a plan to remain in the Canton area of East Baltimore.

The commitment comes after discussions with city officials who promised to make improvements in roads around the plant, company officials said.

"Having completed our financial analysis, and considering the promised support for this area by the city, we have decided to remain in our facility on South Newkirk Street in East Baltimore," B. Douglas Goodell, vice president of Crown Cork's machinery division, said in a recent letter to Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke.

The Newkirk Street plant has 250 workers and manufactures large filling machines, some of which fill up to 2,000 cans a minute. The 330,000-square-foot plant was the largest machine shop east of the Mississippi River when it was built in 1947.

Crown Cork, founded in Baltimore 100 years ago, is one of the world's largest makers of aluminum and steel cans, turning out 280 billion annually.

The company is now based in Philadelphia.

Alan Rutherford, senior vice president and chief financial officer for Crown Cork, said the company's renovations will include rearranging machinery to make the plant more efficient and making general improvements inside and outside the building.

Susan Eliasberg, a spokeswoman for Baltimore Development Corp., the city's business promotion agency, said the city became aware several months ago that Crown Cork was considering moving the Newkirk Street machinery operation out of the city.

As a result, Mr. Schmoke met with management of the plant. That meeting was followed by discussions with officials from the city's Public Works Department, Transportation Department and BEDCO, Ms. Eliasberg said.

"Its a good example of working with a business to stay in the city," she said.

The work the city promised to Crown Cork involves improving Boston Street, but Ms. Eliasberg said she did not know what those improvements would be or how much they would cost the city.

Other Crown Cork operations in Maryland are two plants in Baltimore that make aluminum cans and can ends, and two plants on the Eastern Shore that provide steel cans and can ends for food processors.

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