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Baltimore County Council approves loan to entice Amazon

The Baltimore County Council green-lighted a two million dollar state loan Monday to try to entice Amazon to build a distribution center at Sparrows Point.

County officials say they believe landing Amazon could mean more jobs than the official estimate of 1,500 at the distribution center.

“Fifteen hundred jobs are the direct jobs,” Councilman David Marks said. “There’ll be the indirect jobs that are created through construction services and the induced jobs as the wages and salaries and all that flows through the economy.”

Also, County Economic Department Director Will Anderson told the council that Amazon has exceeded its job expectations at other sites up to 100 percent.

“Fifteen hundred is a fantastic number but there are a lot of spillover economic impacts here,” Anderson said.

He said a top priority for Amazon is making sure the county can provide the workforce it needs and added the company likes Sparrows Point, which was once home to Bethlehem Steel but now is being redeveloped by Tradepoint Atlantic.

“The site location at Tradepoint Atlantic is unparalleled in North America for the rail, port road access and they’re about moving products around this country,” Anderson said.

The loan to Amazon is conditional. If the company hits certain targets like jobs created and employees retained, it would not have to pay back the money. County officials say they are close to an agreement with Amazon.

County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said if the county lands the distribution center, there will be more jobs at Sparrows Point than when the steel plant closed in 2012.

John Lee is a reporter for WYPR covering Baltimore County. @JohnWesleyLee2
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