$4.5 million aid OK'd from Sunny Day Fund


The Maryland General Assembly's Legislative Policy Committee yesterday approved the distribution of $4.5 million from the state's Sunny Day Fund to Bank One Corp. and Qiagen Sciences Inc.

Bank One Corp., the nation's fourth-largest bank holding company, will receive a $1 million grant and a $1 million loan for a check remittance center in downtown Baltimore.

The facility will be located in the 1000 block of E. Fayette St., across from the main post office, and will create up to 400 full-time jobs during the next five years, according to the state Department of Business and Economic Development.

The city will donate the land, and the Maryland Economic Development Corp. will build a 40,000-square-foot facility and an attached garage with 162 spaces.

MEDCO will then lease the facility, which will process more than 30 million items a month for the bank's corporate customers, to Bank One for 10 years with two five-year renewal options.

Qiagen, a subsidiary of a Netherlands-based biotechnology company, will receive a $2.5 million conditional loan from the Sunny Day Fund that will convert to a grant upon certain capital expenditures and job-creation goals, business and economic development officials said.

Qiagen has purchased 18 acres in Montgomery County for its North American headquarters, which will employ more than 200 workers in manufacturing and 100 in research and development by 2002.

Manufacturing activities are set to begin at the planned 190,000- square-foot facility in 2001.

The manufacturing and research facility will be the first in the United States for Qiagen, the world's largest supplier of DNA purification products to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in terms of sales and market share.

"These are two extraordinary deals that will have tremendous importance to the economy of the region and the state," said Richard C. "Mike" Lewin, DBED secretary.

Qiagen was close to setting up operations in Boston before DBED officials intervened, Lewin said. The company also received an offer from Richmond, Va., officials.

Bank One was also wooed by officials in Norfolk, Va.; Philadelphia and Wilmington, Del.

"Both of these companies could have and would have gone somewhere else if we did not make these deals work economically," Lewin said.

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