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BWI Hub ahead in jobs, study finds Va. officials fault county's comparison


The BWI Hub, a commercial area surrounding Baltimore-Washington International Airport, surpasses commercial areas in Reston, Va., and Columbia in the number of jobs and businesses, a county survey shows.

With 3,000 companies, the BWI Hub has 800 percent more firms than Reston, which has 321 businesses. The number of BWI-area companies exceeds that in Columbia by 36 percent, statistics compiled by the Anne Arundel County Office of Economic Development show.

County officials compared office and industrial business only -- no government or retail operations -- in two areas that compete with the BWI Hub for business, said Pat Gonzales, the county's business development representative.

But a spokesman for the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority called the Anne Arundel comparison "apples and oranges."

"Reston does not represent the Dulles airport hub, which would be a more accurate comparison," said Kelly Boyle, director of public affairs. Besides Reston, the Washington Dulles International Airport hub includes Herndon, Dulles and Chantilly, she said.

The BWI Hub area is loosely bounded by Baltimore to the north, Glen Burnie to the east, Route 32 to the south and the county line to the west.

The county's comparison shows the BWI Hub ahead of the other two commercial districts in the number of jobs, with 90,500. The BWI area has 350 percent more jobs than Reston, which has 20,875, and 82 percent more than Columbia, which has 49,600.

"We knew that the major portion of our commercial/industrial land was in that area, but no one had actually sat down to compare the numbers of companies and jobs with other business locations," said Michael Lofton, county economic development director. "This is a real eye-opener."

The entire Dulles airport area has 96,000 jobs, slightly more than the BWI area, Boyle said. She did not have a count of the number of firms.

The report also showed BWI has 11 million square feet of commercial and industrial office space, twice as much as Reston. Columbia has more office space, with 18.8 million square feet.

But the entire Dulles airport area has more than double the commercial and industrial space of the BWI Hub, with 28.5 million square feet, Boyle said.

Numbers used in the study came from the county Office of Planning and Zoning, Fairfax County Economic Development Authority and the U.S. Census Bureau.

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