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Geomet to locate in Washington County

July 09, 1999|By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

WILLIAMSPORT - More than a decade after the first of four planned buildings at Bowman Business Park was built, a second 36,000-square-foot building is under construction with a Germantown, Md.-based company poised to move in, a Bowman Development Corp. official said Thursday.

GEOMET Technologies, which makes protective gear for the U.S. Army, signed a lease for 6,000 square feet in the new building, fronting Governor Lane Boulevard behind the original building, director of development David C. Taylor said.

The company plans to use the space for assembly, custom reconfiguration and official inspection of its Self-Contained Toxic Environment Protective Outfits for the Army, said Thomas B. Riford, marketing director for the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce.

Referred to as the STEPO system, it provides complete body protection from chemical and biological warfare agents and hazardous industrial chemicals, according to Riford.

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Over 2,700 of the systems are scheduled for delivery to about 70 military installations over the next three years as part of a $27.5 million government contract, he said.

The company chose the Bowman Business Park, between Interstate 81 exits 1 and 2, because of its easy access to both east-west and north-south interstates for shipping purposes, Riford said.

Components of the STEPO system will be manufactured elsewhere and shipped in, he said.

Company officials initially talked about hiring about five people to start but later said it could be several more, Riford said. The company will move in in September.

A Hagerstown resident has already been hired as a supervisor, he said.

The lag in expanding the business park, built in 1988, was "just a timing issue, said Taylor, who said a lot of companies are experiencing good, stable growth now and are looking for space to lease.

The original building is full, with a variety of tenants including Cindy's Sweets and Supplies, South Atlantic Controls, Dover Inlay Manufacturing Co. and Equipment Company Unlimited, he said.

The economic development commission gets a lot of inquiries about smaller spaces, Riford said.

The new building will better position the county for the smaller projects that far outnumber the flashier, large projects and together can mean a sizable number of new jobs, he said.

The new building will match the first brick building, with windowed storefronts and rear loading docks and drive-in doors, Taylor said.

Its 12 3,000-square-foot modules can be used alone or combined and will be finished inside to meet the company's needs, he said.

Well underway, it will likely be completed in August, he said.

Taylor said he's in the process of closing on "a good many" other tenants for the new building, but there's still space available.

Based on interest in the new building, a third building could soon follow, Taylor said.

"If this one gets filled, we'll build the nest one," he said.

Donald M. Bowman Jr. planned the business park himself and put in all the necessary infrastructure for four buildings, including pad sites, Taylor said.

The two additional buildings would be just south of the first two, he said.

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