In an unusual shift of a business from Baltimore County to the city, the giant waste handling company Browning-Ferris Industries Inc. yesterday broke ground on a $5.8 million district headquarters in South Baltimore.
The 10.3-acre complex at 250 W. Dickman St. will include a 33,000-square-foot building and is scheduled to be completed early next year. It will replace the company's rented headquarters in the Rosedale section of Baltimore County at Pulaski Highway and 68th Street. Along with Browning-Ferris' fleet of trucks and trash handling equipment, 150 workers will move to the new headquarters.
The company, which bought the land a year ago, decided to move to Baltimore after discussions with Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and the Baltimore Development Corp., said Bill Davis, metropolitan Baltimore divisional vice president for Browning-Ferris.
Browning-Ferris' decision contrasts with the general movement of businesses out of the city in recent years, including McCormick & Co. Inc., PHH Corp. and others.
"We felt we would truly be welcomed to the city of Baltimore," he said. "Because we have such a large customer base in the city, there was the sense to give something back to the city," Mr. Davis said.
The city government did not offer any tax breaks or other incentives to bring the headquarters to Baltimore, he said.
The Baltimore district serves about 8,000 businesses and 7,200 residential customers in the city of Baltimore and Baltimore and Harford counties, Mr. Davis said.
The new facility, which is just off Hanover Street, will serve as a terminal for dispatching trucks to customers. The waste is disposed of at area landfills and incinerators, Mr. Davis said.
Browing-Ferris, based in Houston, is one of the largest publicly traded waste service companies, with sales of $4.3 billion last year.
Present at yesterday's groundbreaking were William D. Ruckelshaus, chairman and chief executive officer of Browning-Ferris, and Mayor Schmoke.