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Nearly a $100 million taxpayer investment in PPE company in Sparrows Point remains stalled

Still no movement after PPE company promised economy boost to Sparrows Point
Still no movement after PPE company promised economy boost to Sparrows Point 05:03

BALTIMORE -  In March 2022, nearly $100 million in taxpayer money was invested in a COVID-19 glove company that was supposed to bring more than 2,000 jobs to Sparrows Point.

Two years later, the factory sits empty.

PPE company United Safety Technology held a press conference on March 2022 with local elected officials to announce the creation of a sterile glove manufacturing to meet dire consumer needs while the global economy was still adjusting to the realities of COVID-19.

But with foreign imports and the company's need for more money to get going, their plan to bring back manufacturing in Sparrows Point remains stalled.

The factory and the company promised a boost to Sparrows Point that was acknowledged back then by Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski.

"To see this building now be transformed from that manufacturing to a new form of manufacturing, to both keep our first responders and hospitals taken care of, but also create those, you know, much-needed jobs and opportunity," Olszewski said in 2022.

"While the slowdown of any individual project is disappointing, Baltimore County remains excited about the numerous, ongoing efforts at Tradepoint Atlantic that are providing high-quality jobs for our residents and supporting the site's continued transformation into an economic engine for our entire region," Erica Palmisano, a spokesperson for Olszewski, said in a statement Thursday.  

The factory's parking lot is empty. Inside the warehouse is unfinished business. No gloves are being produced at a time when it seems the world has moved on from the dire need for PPE.

"This company is part of the broader failure we're seeing to reboot our national capacity to produce PPE in the United States," said Tinglong Dai, from Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.

Dai says foreign countries like China already dominate the global market for those products, which according to our media partner The Baltimore Banner, is the reason United Safety Technology is likely doomed as public and private money has dried up, and most American consumers opt for cheaper products made overseas.

"They don't have a lot of options unless we can establish a kind of guarantee for stable demand from federal government facilities, from AIH, from Hopkins," Dai said. "Unless we have a medical program that provides a steady stream of demand, it'snot going to happen." 

United Safety Technology told The Baltimore Banner that they are still trying to move forward with the project. 

We also learned that the company is currently being sued by a contractor who stopped their work in the middle of installing a deepwater well in the facility.

A settlement hearing for that lawsuit is scheduled for July.

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