Odenton on the verge Boomtown: Years of public investment, planning about to pay off in Fort Meade area.


AFTER BUILDING roads, creating town center plans and marketing the area of Odenton, Anne Arundel County officials believe developers will begin looking seriously at the West County area for new office development.

Odenton could not be better situated. With the completion of various road projects -- widening of Route 32, connecting Route 100 to Interstate 95 and the widening of Interstate 97 -- Odenton has become a lot more convenient to Baltimore and Washington.

Moreover, it sits near Amtrak's main line, giving it unrivaled freight and passenger service. In the past decade, Odenton has become a bedroom community for thousands of residents who work in the Washington area and take the MARC commuter train into Union Station.

While residential development around Odenton's environs is likely to continue, at the moment there is a shortage of Class A office space in the county. New structures with lots of amenities are in short supply in the Annapolis area. Around Baltimore-Washington International Airport, the vacant space is now being absorbed rapidly. MCI and Aerotek, each employing several hundred workers, have moved into the area. Other firms, such Northrop Grumman and TeleSpectrum Worldwide, are adding jobs.

Developers are looking for new sites, and the county is encouraging them to locate near Odenton, one of the county's two town centers. Odenton's business district, once known for honky-tonk bars, liquor stores, tattoo parlors and pool halls that attracted soldiers from nearby Fort George G. Meade, is the hub of West County development. Half of all new jobs created in the county during the next 10 years are expected to be in the Odenton area.

Anne Arundel County planners believe Odenton will be attractive to businesses that have to deal with customers in Annapolis, Baltimore and Washington. In addition, the prices are cheaper than industrial or commercial zoned land closer to the airport, now surrounded by warehouse and office space.

Although the construction of a large office project or industrial park has yet to be announced, officials expect that it is just a matter of time before one is built in Odenton.

Pub Date: 12/23/96

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