"Location, Location, Location"
“Location, Location, Location.”
This phrase has long been the mantra in the residential real estate market but in today’s highly competitive global market, location has increasingly played a significant role as a catalyst for economic development. This is no more true than for the Greater Baltimore region where a premier location in the heart of the Mid-Atlantic serves as a major asset for the growth of the Region’s strategic industries and elevates Greater Baltimore as “THE location of choice” for talent, capital and business.
The benefits of Greater Baltimore’s geography are equaled by “an embarrassment of riches” of additional assets including proximity to major military and Department of Defense establishments, a wealth of two- and four-year colleges and universities, world renown research institutions, and a multi-modal transportation network that provides access to points near and far – all of which support a growing economy across diverse industry sectors. This article will briefly describe the Region’s locational assets as a catalyst for growth in several industry sectors and for attracting and retaining the talent and investment necessary to support that growth. You can find more information about the industry sectors briefly described below in previous newsletters and industry profiles on EAGB’s website, www.greaterbaltimore.org.
LOCATION and LOGISTICS
The entire Region benefits from a transportation network that facilitates the movement of goods and services along the eastern seaboard and well beyond. With the growth of e-commerce -- growth fueled by the global pandemic caused by COVID-19 -- speed to market is a critical component in the supply chain for moving product from point of origin to destination. Greater Baltimore’s assets make the Region a prime location for the logistics industry.
EAGB has written extensively about the exponential growth of the logistics industry in previous newsletters, but following are some important points highlighting the Region’s assets:
- The Port of Baltimore is ranked as the #1 most efficient port in the U.S. and provides the closest access point to the Midwest of any other Atlantic seaport. It is one of only four ports on the East Coast that has the 50-foot channel depth required to accommodate the larger container ships passing through the Panama Canal.
- With its network of highways and freight rail, the Region provides overnight access to one-third of the U.S. consumer market.
- The Region’s 2- and 4-year colleges and universities train the workforce needed to support the industry in occupations ranging from entry level to senior management. The educational and training programs supporting Logisitics-related occupations are at the forefront of incorporating the technology skills increasingly required by even entry level positions.
LOCATION and LIFE SCIENCES
With ideal proximity to federal labs, significant investment in R&D, and a highly skilled workforce, Greater Baltimore’s reputation as a hub for the life science industry continues to grow. As with logistics, the pandemic has shined a spotlight on the Region’s life science activities including COVID-19 vaccine development and clinical trials conducted at the University of Maryland Baltimore’s Center for Vaccine Development & Global Health and the John’s Hopkins University as the country’s number one source of Coronavirus data. A few important highlights about this industry:
- Seventy-eight federal labs, including all of NIH's 27 institutes, are headquartered in Maryland and within a one-hour drive of Baltimore.
- Greater Baltimore is home to three of the country’s top scientific research institutions: Johns Hopkins University, the University of Maryland Baltimore, and the University of Maryland Baltimore County.
- Johns Hopkins is perennially the #1 recipient for scientific research funding in the country.
The Region's assets listed above combined with its unparalleled location in the mid-Atlantic were primary considerations for Illumina when they chose the University of Maryland BioPark as their first East Coast location. A publicly traded company headquartered in San Diego, Illumina is a leading developer, manufacturer, and marketer of life science tools and integrated systems for large-scale analysis of genetic variation and function.
LOCATION and CYBERSECURITY/DEFENSE
Fort George G. Meade, Aberdeen Proving Ground, U.S. Cyber Command, NSA - all are located in the Greater Baltimore region and, combined with other assets in the Region, have resulted in cybersecurity and defense-related industries that have and will continue to grow in importance and economic benefit for Greater Baltimore. Here are a few of the Region’s assets that support these sectors:
- The Region has nine Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense, four of which are at the associate degree level – the same number as California, New York, and the District of Columbia, combined.
- The Baltimore MSA is third in the country in the density of computer & information research scientists and third in the density of information security analysts.
- The Region leads the country in producing a diverse cyber workforce, with the most HBCU-based Centers of Academic Excellence of any state in the country.
The cybersecurity and defense industries are major growth sectors for Anne Arundel County, home to Fort Meade, the U.S. Cyber Command, NSA and DISA, all of which fuel the growth of companies founded and staffed by the talent working within these facilities and organizations. One such company is Fuse Engineering .
LOCATION and QUALITY OF LIFE
The Greater Baltimore region’s geographic location is an asset that can’t be overstated when retaining and attracting the talent and capital needed to support economic growth in all of the Region’s industry sectors. But like pieces to a jigsaw puzzle, there are other factors that must be included in order to complete the picture of Greater Baltimore as a hub for economic growth - factors that add up to a high quality of life.
The seven-jurisdiction Region is relatively compact at approximately 2500 square miles and the ease of movement up and down the East Coast allows one to be in Washington DC in under an hour’s drive, Philadelphia in under two hours (and half that by train), New York City within 2.5 hours by train, and Boston only a short plane ride away. Located within a State often described as "America in minature," the Region is less than a two-hour drive from Baltimore to leisure activities ranging from the mountains in Western Maryland to sandy beaches along the Atlantic coast.
The quality of life provided by Greater Baltimore’s geographic location is amplified by a plethora of other assets in the Region, including:
- Lower cost of housing and a diverse housing stock ranging from Baltimore City’s eclectic neighborhoods with their historic rowhouses to newly built condominiums at the Harbor to single family homes on acres of land in several of the Region’s counties provide housing options few other regions can offer.
- Educational resources for career entry and advancement or just personal growth with sixteen 4-year and seven 2-year colleges and universities located in the Region, fueling the talent pipeline needed to support economic growth.
- Quality healthcare is readily available, with over 30 hospitals serving the Region’s seven jurisdictions, including nationally and internationally ranked specialties within the Johns Hopkins and University of Maryland medical systems as well as many other regional and community patient care facilities.
- A rich and varied art and culture community - too many to list here - but including nationally acclaimed art museums, science and children’s museums and museums celebrating the Region’s industries such as the Museum of Industry in Baltimore City and the Carroll County Farm Museum. Additionally, the richness of the Region’s history, dating back to before the Revolutionary War, will satisfy the most avid history buff.
The depth and breadth of the benefits of a Greater Baltimore location for growing and attracting talent, investing in emerging start-ups working on exciting products and processes in all of the Region’s strategic industry sectors, and growing a business are undisputed. In a highly competitive national if not global market, the Region’s “location location location” wins, hands down.