FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Jan. 13, 2014

 

Contacts:         Cheryl Sparks, MDTA, 410-537-1017

                        Jared Smith, Lt. Governor’s Office, 443-370-6896      

 

Lt. Governor Brown, Senator Cardin & Private Sector Partners Preview and Tour New $30 Million Maryland House Travel Plaza

Public-Private Partnership Supports 400 Construction and 575 Operating Jobs;

State to Officially Open New Facility Week of Jan. 20th

 

BALTIMORE, MD – Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, Areas USA CEO Xavier Rabell, Transportation Secretary James T. Smith, Jr., private sector representatives and other State and local officials today toured the new $30 million Maryland House Travel Plaza along I-95 in Harford County.  Through an innovative Public-Private Partnership (P3) with the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA), Areas USA is investing approximately $56 million to redesign and rebuild the Maryland House and Chesapeake House travel plazas on the JFK Memorial Highway (I-95) in northeastern Maryland.  The Maryland House will officially open to the public the week of Jan. 20th, at which time the Chesapeake House will close for reconstruction.

“With private-sector ingenuity and teamwork, we used a creative Public-Private Partnership to rebuild two aging travel plazas, create jobs and meet the transportation needs of our State,” said Lt. Governor Brown.  “Even in tough economic times, our Administration has sought innovative approaches, like Public-Private Partnerships, to deliver crucial transportation projects that rebuild our infrastructure, put people back to work and strengthen our economy.”

“The new Maryland House will be an oasis for millions of travelers and a foundation for quality jobs and economic growth for Maryland. It’s a great example of what can get done when government and the private sector work together to benefit our local communities,” said Senator Cardin. “I am confident this project will serve as a model for addressing the complex needs of our State in the future.”

Areas USA will operate and maintain the travel plazas through 2047, while the MDTA retains ownership and oversight of the plazas.  The P3 agreement supports 400 construction and 575 operating jobs and will bring in more than $400 million to the State over the course of the 35-year agreement.

The 42,000 square-foot Maryland House includes the following amenities:

·         Contemporary design and natural lighting,

·         High-speed fueling,

·         Additional bus parking and indoor/outdoor seating,

·         Free Wi-Fi,

·         Modern restroom facilities and equipment,

·         LEED certified building with “green” features,

·         Staffed Welcome Center, and

·         Kids Korner seating area.

When the new Maryland House opens to the public the week of Jan. 20th, the facility will offer food from Wendy’s, Phillips Seafood, Dunkin’ Donuts, Jerry’s Subs & Pizza, Currito, Nathan’s Famous, Auntie Anne’s and Carvel.  The new 5,700 square-foot A Plus convenience store at the Sunoco high-speed fueling station features food from Elevation Burger.

“We’re pleased to unveil this exceptional facility and introduce a new level of customer service to the millions of people who visit Maryland’s travel plazas each year,” said Xavier Rabell, CEO of Areas USA. “Working in conjunction with the Maryland Transportation Authority and our many local partners, we have created an innovative facility that offers classic brands, convenient access and essential services, all within an environmentally sensitive design.”

 “Once again, under the leadership of Governor Martin O’Malley and Lt. Governor Brown, Maryland continues to use innovative approaches to improve our transportation infrastructure and keep pace with the growing needs of our customers,” said MDTA Chairman and Transportation Secretary James T. Smith, Jr.  “The Areas USA team, with significant local and minority business participation, is delivering modern, attractive facilities with old-fashioned customer service.”

Areas USA is partnering with multiple Maryland firms, several of which are minority-owned or women-owned businesses, including:

·         Ayers Saint Gross - Lead designer, Baltimore;

·         Clark Construction - Contractor, Bethesda;

·         Cain Contracting, Inc. - Sub-contractor, Columbia - Minority owned;

·         WBCM - Civil and traffic engineer, Baltimore;

·         Aria Environmental, Inc. - Environmental design, Woodbine - Woman owned;

·         Cagley & Associates - Structural engineer, Rockville - Minority owned;

·         4 Evergreen Lawncare, LLC - Landscape maintenance, Baltimore - Minority owned; and

·         NMP Engineering Consultants, Inc. - Water resources engineering, Hunt Valley - Minority owned.

In addition, Areas USA worked with numerous local community groups in its employment efforts, including hiring nine homeless veterans through the Perry Point Veterans Affairs Medical Center program and several individuals with special needs through the Bayside Community Network.

The original Maryland House opened in November 1963 with what was then called the Northeastern Expressway (I-95).  It housed a cafeteria and a sit-down restaurant with linen tablecloths and had two gas stations.  To meet the growing number of travelers along this busy interstate, the Chesapeake House opened in Cecil County in 1975.  The two travel plazas are among the busiest in the country, serving more than five million customers each year.

Timeline – Travel Plaza Redevelopment P3:

·         January 2012: Travel Plaza P3 Agreement with Areas USA approved by MDTA Board.

·         March 2012: Travel Plaza P3 Agreement approved by Board of Public Works.

·         Sept. 16, 2012: Areas USA becomes new travel-plaza concessionaire.  The Maryland House closed for reconstruction; the Chesapeake House remains open.

·         Spring 2013: Construction begins on new Chesapeake House adjacent to existing facility.

·         Week of Jan. 20th, 2014: Maryland House expected to reopen; Chesapeake House closes for reconstruction.

·         Summer/Fall 2014: Chesapeake House reopens for service with food concessions Earl of Sandwich, Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Wendy’s, Peet’s Coffee and Tea and Auntie Anne’s.

Photos of the new Maryland House and renderings of the new Chesapeake House can be found at i95mdtravelplazas.com.  Once open to the public, customers can provide feedback about the new Maryland House to Areas USA at 866-820-1178 or via email at guestservice@areasmail.com.  Follow the MDTA at twitter.com/TheMDTA, facebook.com/TheMDTA and mdta.maryland.gov.

###