Good Hair Day for BWI Business Area


One of the success stories of Germany's post-World War II economic miracle has been Goldwell GmbH. The company has grown into one of the world's largest producers of hair care products and cosmetics and is now controlled by the Japanese.

Since Goldwell sells exclusively to professional beauty salons, it is not a household name. Anne Arundel countians ought to pay attention, though.

After having headquartered its operations at Annapolis Junction, Goldwell Cosmetics' U.S. subsidiary has announced its intention to build a new $25 million North American manufacturing plant and headquarters near the Baltimore-Washington International Airport in Linthicum.

The selection of a 20-acre site in the Hock Business Park, across from the Westinghouse headquarters, is a significant vote of confidence in Anne Arundel County and Maryland.

The site's proximity to the airport was a major factor, according to J. Gary Lee, a local real estate broker, because the cosmetics firm will use its new facility for extensive training.

"It is very important for Anne Arundel County and the state to have a nationally recognized company with big international operations put a headquarters in the area," Mr. Lee said.

Indeed, Goldwell Cosmetics is not only talking about moving its headquarters staff to the BWI location but concentrating all its North American production there. That should mean more manufacturing jobs.

Transport considerations had also played a key role in the U.S. Postal Service's decision to locate a mail processing center in that same business park. That facility has been in operation for about a year.

Goldwell, for its part, has been known as an innovator internationally in hair treatment. It is a leader in perm applications. The company also introduced the world's first coloration computer to cover tinting, highlighting and other coloring treatments.

Until the recession, the BWI hub had been one of Maryland's hottest growth engines. Overbuilding and downsizing in defense industries caused considerable vacancies, however. In recent months, the BWI commercial real estate market has shown signs of firming up again. The Goldwell decision strengthens that view.

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