Though all 5,700 personnel associated with the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) relocations are now in place, West Anne Arundel County continues to experience exponential growth thanks to other growth at Ft. Meade. Expansion at the National Security Agency (NSA) has already brought thousands to the area over the past few years, with more to come. In addition, the United States Cyber Command was established at Ft. Meade in 2010, and is projected to bring another 1020 jobs over the next several years. Total employment at Fort George G. Meade is currently over 49,000, making it the third largest military base in the United States and the largest employer in the State of Maryland. An additional 62,000 personnel, family members, and retirees reside in the local area, for a total supported population of almost 112,000.
Government jobs aren’t the only growth in western Anne Arundel County. Our position at the intersection of major highways, close to BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, and our proximity to Washington, DC led our area to be the growth corridor for the county well before BRAC additions were announced. Our highly skilled workforce and the presence of Ft. Meade and NSA have attracted many of the leading defense contractors, as well as established and emerging defense and intelligence companies working in informatics, communications, high-speed computing, aerospace, and instrumentation. In fact, Anne Arundel Community College’s Center for Workforce Solutions offers a full complement of training solutions to give business and industry the competitive edge. CWS is one of the leading regional resources for customized training.
The acronym BRAC is used locally to refer not only to the almost 5,700 jobs relocating to Ft. Meade as a result of the 2005 BRAC actions, but also additional projected growth at Ft. Meade.
Three agencies relocated here as a result of the 2005 BRAC decision:
Other growth expected at Ft. Meade by 2015 includes 2,000 jobs at Ft. Meade’s 116 other agencies, over 6,600 jobs at NSA, and 10,000 contractor jobs associated with work on Ft. Meade. Negotiations continue for Enhanced Use Lease construction (private development on Army-owned land) across MD175 from the primary Ft. Meade campus, and current plans include office space for up to 4,000 contractor personnel. These numbers do not include growth associated with the new U.S. Cyber Command Headquarters recently established at Ft. Meade.
The area just outside the gates of Ft. Meade has long been designated for redevelopment as a transit-oriented, pedestrian friendly mixed-use district centered around the MARC commuter train station called the Odenton Town Center. After many years of delay, development projects are finally rising from the ground, great news to the over twenty developers and hundreds involved in this 1,600-acre project. County forward-funding of needed infrastructure, combined with an agreement providing for a developer-built road in exchange for impact credits, has resulted in rapid development, including townhomes, apartments, retail, and office space. A developer-underwritten and county-constructed upgrade to local sewer lines, delivered in March 2014, will allow additional projects to move ahead.
Other Major Developments
In addition to the Odenton Town Center, several other mixed-use developments have been constructed in the West Anne Arundel County area. Arundel Preserve’s new hotel, shops, and residences were completed in Hanover, with additional housing, retail, and office space underway. Nearby, the Maryland Live! Casino opened mid-2012 and added table games in 2013, and Arundel Mills Mall continues to expand. A convention center adjacent to Maryland Live! Casino is also under consideration.
The Village South at Waugh Chapel in Gambrills includes over a million square feet of mixed retail, office and residential, and has become a popular destination with such anchors as Wegmans Food Market, Target, and Regal Theaters. Arundel Gateway, off MD 198 in Laurel, is another mixed use development in the advanced planning stages, incorporating 1600 residential units with office and retail space. In addition, Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT) continues to expand their National Business Park, home to many defense contractors and government agencies.