Annapolis attracts engine giant ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY

Location, location, location is the key to successful rea estate. The same often applies to winning sales performances. This is underscored by the recent decision of the world's largest manufacturer of medium-speed diesel engines for marine and power-generating uses to relocate its North American headquarters to Annapolis.

Wartsila Diesel Co., of Finland, will relocate its North American headquarters from Chestertown on the Eastern Shore to Power Technology Center in Annapolis next month. Its 10-year lease of 38,000-square-feet represents this year's largest non-governmental office lease in Anne Arundel County and is worth $4 million. But the move is significant in other respects as well.


When Wartsila began studying relocation, it had choices other than staying in Maryland.

The Finnish company, which sells and services $240 million worth of diesel engines through its North American operation -- worldwide sales are $1.3 billion -- has been expanding rapidly and hopes to begin manufacturing engines in the United States in 1994. For that reason, it was considering a headquarters' location in Rocky Mount, N.C., where it already operates extensive facilities, or perhaps in Rhode Island.


In the end, Maryland and Annapolis won. The reason was location. Because it handles sales throughout North America, Wartsila wanted easy access to airports. In relocating to Annapolis, it is close not only to Baltimore-Washington dTC International Airport, but to National and Dulles airports as well.

The company, which last year won a $10 million contract to supply electric wire, power and distribution equipment to the U.S. Navy, also wanted to be near Washington. Again, Annapolis was the right location.

A third consideration for Wartsila was to avoid too dramatic an uprooting of employees and their families. Many of them had moved to Chestertown with the company three years ago. Staying in Maryland -- within commuting distance -- was deemed easier than relocating to another state.

Unlike many other areas of the economy, Wartsila's specialized field has been booming in recent years. The company expects to expand its staff from about 50 to 70, when it moves to Annapolis.

That's good news for Wartsila -- and for Annapolis.