PORT DEPOSIT — According to the chairman of the Bainbridge Development Corporation, the US Navy is eager to be finished with the clean up of the former naval base.

“The Navy wants to get us off their list,” Carl Roberts told the annual meeting of the BDC Monday.

A pact between the two entities known as the Environmental Services Cooperative Agreement (ESCA) requires the Navy to be on site throughout the building process to monitor and test for lingering asbestos. Toni Sprenkle, BDC project manager, said the Navy is paying $4.2 million to remediate the 1,200 acre former military site in preparation for construction of a spec building in the BDC’s phase one plan.

“By September 2021 this needs to be done,” Sprenkle said. “We got a surface scan of the area directly around the building pad and the parking lot.”

She added, phase two of the ESCA is even bigger than phase one.

“We don’t anticipate a lot of surprises,” she said. “It will be very similar to the first findings. The Navy has already funded it.”

“After 20 years it is a significant accomplishment,” Sprenkle said, referring to the long years of debate and inactivity due to contamination on the tract.

Next up is full mobility for stormwater management and sediment control, Sprenkle said of the time line. She turned to Steve Cassard, BDC executive director, to explain the infrastructure needs. Using $4 million in grants from Maryland and Cecil County BDC is getting water and wastewater to the site.

“A 2 mile long sewer line will occur in 2021. The second piece is water. Negotiations continue with Artesian ... to adequately support phase one,” Cassard said. Port Deposit, Cecil County, and BDC are all working with Artesian toward that resolution.

“We are very pleased with where we are compared to a year ago,” he said.

While he did not divulge its name Cassard said MTPM, the company charged with marketing the property, almost had a tenant lined up.

“We lost it to Baltimore County,” Cassard said. “But in recent weeks there have been several large developers interested.

“We are in negotiations with these prospects and we are pretty confident at this point,” he added. He said data, fulfillment and distribution centers populate the list of the interested, all who are interested in a spec building, or turn-key operation. Full buildout of the estimated 3.8 million square foot building could top $3 million. That could go much higher if the tenant is a data center, which would require more expensive equipment and technologies.

According to Cassard by the middle of next year there will be a lot going on at the phase one site.

“Not only just clearing and grubbing but new development teams and new development users,” he said. “Local government will definitely be involved and with that comes tax revenue.”

Roberts said work is being done --including a traffic study — in preparation for moving the BDC offices and Cecil College Truck Driver Training School to the opposite side of the property.

“Phase one is right where our offices sit,” Roberts said, referring to the 422-acre Jacob Tome Highway side of the property.

Sprenkle said that work includes getting electric and other utilities to the new site.

“We all agreed this is the best placement,” she said.

She expects that move to be complete by the end of the year.

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