Wednesday marked my first time aboard a helicopter. That’s right, I’ve never been airlifted from a war zone, seen the rocks of the Grand Canyon up close, or gone down with a Black Hawk in the wilds of Somalia. And this occasion wasn’t incredibly glamorous either. We rose up, twice circled the proposed site of an office park redevelopment in Halethorpe, saw it from both sides, then touched down. It was a surprisingly smooth ride.
The occasion for my helicopter debut was some reporting I did on Hollins End Corporate Park, a warehouse redevelopment project in Baltimore County being carried out by Lutherville’s Preston Partners. Showing a development site to Realtors, businesspeople and members of media is an uncommon treat at ground-breaking ceremonies, but in the case of Hollins End, it was especially interesting because it put the project in the context of its location.
The developers are building their 1.3 million square feet of office flex and warehouse space on 51 acres between a number of major roadways — I-95, I-695, I-895 — that connect the Baltimore and Washington metro areas. It really took a trip up high to illustrate this context. We saw cars running along I-895, up to the Baltimore beltway, and beyond, in the distance, the skyline of Baltimore rose from the haze.
A media spokesperson for Baltimore County, who was sitting near me in the cramped, four-person cabin of the Bell 407, said, “Google Earth just doesn’t capture this!” I couldn’t agree more. It’s easy to see why so many action film directors choose to shoot from the open doors of a chopper. The sweeping, expansive view you get is just amazing.
Plus you get to wear some totally cool-looking headgear.
ROBBIE WHELAN, Business Writer