From left, Calvin Young (Green Street Impact Partners), Greg Fitchitt (Howard Hughes), Jennifer Jones (HCEDA) and Gregg Herlong (Wexford Science & Technology) discuss the usefulness of GBC’s Baltimore Region Investment Scorecard. (TBM / George Berkheimer)

The story of economic investment activity in the Baltimore region can now be told and tracked through an interactive web tool.

Released by the Greater Baltimore Committee in April, the Baltimore Region Investment Scorecard quantifies the region’s full scope of investment activity. It includes both development deals and capital investments on an annual basis dating back to 2013, and also filters activity by jurisdiction.

The dashboard’s tabs allow users to see capital expenditures by industry type; direct jobs and labor income; associated federal, state and local tax revenue; and industrial and office real estate absorption, vacancy rate and average rent figures.

The 2023 score card highlighted 347 announced deals totaling $4.2 billion in new capital expenditures for the region. These deals are projected to generate 23,000 direct jobs alongside $1.7 billion in labor income and $430 million in new tax revenue.

“One way to better tell the Baltimore region’s story is making sure the world knows people are investing in Baltimore,” said Mark Anthony Thomas, president and CEO of the GBC. “We’re going to better understand how companies are investing and how foreign direct investment is flowing into our market.”

The score card will be updated annually and is modeled on similar tools used in Pittsburgh, Detroit and Miami. It was created by GBC’s Policy & Research team using data collected by GBC’s regional and data partners.

The Baltimore Region Investment Scorecard quantifies the region’s full scope of investment activity. (Screenshot by The Business Monthly)

Economic development resource

GBC unveiled the score card during its Pulse Check summit, which gathered public and private sector leaders to provide a snapshot of the regional economy and the forces that influence it.

For many of them, the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse was paramount.

“The nation’s eyes are on Baltimore right now,” said Mohan Suntha, GBC’s board chair. “What is critical is that we tell the story of the impact we have to our nation and … why investing in this region returns dramatically to the nation and the region.”

Kory Bailey, CEO of Upsurge Baltimore, observed that there were more than 496 tech startups in the Baltimore region before it was designated a Tech Hub by the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

“That number surprises a lot of people who don’t understand that there was already great momentum and great activity happening in our tech sector,” he said. 

Jennifer Jones, CEO of the Howard County Economic Development Authority, said the new Scorecard aggregates information from different data sources, providing a simpler, more informative overview for her.

“This is really a great opportunity,” Jones said. “I think in order to be competitive 10 or 15 years from now we need to work better as a region, and I think we all have our assets [to contribute].”

Greg Fitchitt, executive vice president for government affairs and business development for Howard Hughes, said the score card provides the data he needs to woo Fortune 500 companies and other businesses that are looking for new headquarters or expansion space.

“We’re happy to see Howard County stand out, to see it validated in the data is important,” he said. “GBC is thinking for the long term. Taking planning seriously and thoughtfully and doing it well lays the foundation for the success we’ll see 10, 20 or 30 years from now.”

Growth tool

Calvin Young, general partner at Green Street Impact Partners, said he reads Baltimore City’s $2.25 billion in capital expenditures for 2023, outsized in comparison to the other jurisdictions, as a vote of confidence in the city’s leadership from the business community.

“The score card shows this is truly a diverse region with activity across all of the different counties,” he said. “It underscores why it’s so important to invest in the city and not forget about it.”

Gregg Herlong, vice president and market executive for Wexford Science & Technology, said the score card’s data is important from a policymaking perspective, demonstrating what policies and resources are working and what might need to be adjusted or refocused.

“It shows there was a life sciences investment boom in 2021 and 2022 that slowed in 2023, and we’re starting to see it thaw out,” he said. “There’s a lot of money on the sidelines that will be put to work over the next year or two.”

Jennifer Vey, executive vice president for Policy & Research for GBC, said the score card shows that 56 of Baltimore City’s 138 announced investment deals last year were in life sciences.

“There are so many big opportunities throughout the region, in Tradepoint Atlantic, Sparrows Point, National Business Park, things in the Tech Hub,” she said. “When we think about the region as a whole and the relationships between all of this activity, the score card is going to be really important to our growth going forward.”

Nick Henninger-Ayoub, GBC’s director of Policy & Research, said the score card reflects 10 years of steady growth for the region.

“We’re going to use this data … to set us up for transformational growth,” he said. “We like the direction these numbers are heading in, but we know we can do even better when we get organized and share the good news happening in our region with the world around us.”