Friday, April 08, 2011

Intermodal Insanity Too

Contrary to what some may think, I actually like Elkridge. I’ve been to community plays at the Lawyers Hill community building, jazz concerts at Belmont, played co-ed softball at Rockburn Park and for five years, I drove though the community every day, going to and from work. It was one of nicest commutes I've ever had.

After crossing Route 1 at Montgomery Road, I’d drop in to Dunkin Donuts on the corner and then head on past the firehouse to Hanover Road and on into the Parkway Business Park.

Some mornings my journey would be briefly interrupted by the passing of a freight train. This is one of only two places in HoCo where the CSX Main Line has an at-grade crossing. I enjoyed the interruptions, sipping my coffee, watching the train.

As it happens, I know a little bit about the CSX Main Line. My firm has leased, developed, bought and sold well over 5 million square feet of warehouse and industrial space along the Baltimore Washington corridor portion of the line over the past 10 years. Along with the Port of Baltimore, BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, and an excellent interstate highway network, the railroad makes the area an attractive place for industrial real estate.

That’s good for business. That’s good for jobs. That’s good for HoCo.

Now Elkridge, more specifically, Hanover, is being considered as one of four potential sites for a 70 to 100 acre CSX Intermodal terminal. The Hanover site runs along the rail line at Race Road and Hanover Road. The other sites are in Jessup near Montevideo Road and Dorsey Run, Brock Bridge Road (AA Co.) and Sunnyside Avenue and Powder Mill Road in Beltsville. Some believe that the site in Hanover is the front runner.

Understandably, Hanover residents living nearest to the site are worried about what this means for their community. Some have posted angry comments here after I wrote a post supporting the Hanover location. Some have asked what my agenda is. Some question if I expect to profit somehow from this.

I certainly hope so. That's my business. The thing is, when I am doing my job well it generally means that jobs are being created too.

That being said, I am interested in finding out more and I look forward to the upcoming workshops being conducted by CSX and the Maryland Department of Transportation. Hopefully, everyone participating will do so with an open mind. 

I know both HoCo sites and I can understand some of the reasons why the Hanover site might be preferable to the others. I also believe that a facility can be designed that would not have any more impact on the area than any other use that would normally be permitted in an M2 zone.

And that is really the main point. This site is already zoned for this type of use. It is HoCo’s heaviest industrial land use designation and has always been relegated to land along the CSX Main Line. Yes, it is true that there are 300 some homes within a quarter mile radius of this site. It is also true that the majority of these homes were built long after that zoning was in place. It is also likely that the prices of these homes have long reflected the fact that they sit along a major rail line.

And for those who are new to this blog and don’t know bones about wordbones, my real name is Dennis Lane. My office is now in Columbia. There is a link to our website on the right hand column of this blog under Ryan Commercial Real Estate. There is even more stuff about me here and here.
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