Port Covington is the place for Amazon to build its second headquarters campus, Amazon HQ2. That might seem an unusual statement from the Baltimore County executive, since Port Covington is located in Baltimore City. But a project of this scope requires a broader vision, one that recognizes that a strong and vibrant Baltimore City is good for Baltimore County, the region and the state.
This is not a time for local leaders to be blinded by parochial interests. Certainly Baltimore County has viable location options, but with Amazon's very specific needs and timelines, these sites won't make the highly competitive cut. Port Covington in Baltimore City is shovel ready for HQ2.
When you look at the way people actually live and work, we are one interconnected Central Maryland region anchored by Baltimore City. Every day, thousands of people live in the city and work in the counties. And vice versa. With one regional voice, we have the best chance to bring Amazon and tens of thousands of jobs to Maryland and hypercharge development of Port Covington.
Together, we offer Amazon an affordable business climate, spot-on location, forward-leaning tech workforce, and a quality of life that blends urban, suburban and rural lifestyles.
Amazon already knows a lot about Baltimore and Central Maryland. They've researched us up and down and selected the Baltimore region for major operations in Dundalk and Cecil County. They know how easy it is to hop on Acela to D.C. or New York and fly out of BWI airport for a Seattle or London meeting. They see entrepreneurial energy from companies such as Under Armour, Pay Pal Credit and tech talent recruiter Allegis Group, and the steady leadership of corporate giants such as T. Rowe Price and McCormick.
Amazon does not have to look far for technical expertise and university brainpower. University of Maryland Baltimore County is recognized nationally for its IT and cyber programs and business partnerships, including a cyber incubator. Baltimore coders might be graduates of Johns Hopkins, Towson University, Morgan State University, University of Baltimore or the Maryland Institute College of Art.
The 50,000 workers at Amazon and their families are as likely to live in a city loft in Federal Hill as a luxury apartment in downtown Towson, or a suburban neighborhood in Catonsville or Columbia.
Baltimore is a mix of urban cool near comfortable county neighborhoods. We share a love of steamed crabs and chef cuisine, world class arts and entertainment, weekends in the mountains or down the ocean, Orioles baseball and Ravens football. We are quirky, eclectic, welcoming and creative. Nowhere else can claim to be the home of filmmaker John Waters, video game pioneer Sid Meier and electronic music composer Dan Deacon.
Baltimore City's strength and economic vitality are good for Baltimore County, good for the region and good for Maryland. The impact of these jobs will benefit all of us. I urge officials across Maryland to send their own letters in support of Port Covington as the location of choice for Amazon's HQ2.
Kevin Kamenetz is Baltimore County executive, president of the Maryland Association of Counties and past president of the Baltimore Metropolitan Council. He can be reached at email@example.com.