North Baltimore-based web design and IT staffing firm G.1440 is moving from Baltimore city to Timonium in Baltimore County. G.1440 expects to complete the move by mid-December, and it’s taking over the former office of Zynga East on York Road.
CEO Larry Fiorino said the move will make commuting easier for his employees, many of whom now live in surrounding counties after living in Baltimore city for several years. According to the Baltimore Business Journal:
He decided to move out of Baltimore to make work more convenient for employees. When G.1440 moved into its North Baltimore office seven years ago, more of the company’s employees lived in the city or close by. But now employees are commuting from places as far flung as Carroll County and Fiorino wants to cut down their travel times.
The company might mirror a troubling obstacle the city still needs to overcome: young companies, like young residents, choose the city for its social and cultural amenities, but as they grow up, they leave, to places where space, crime and schools have better reputations.
While Fiorino’s explanation deals mainly with his employees’ commuting times, his decision to relocate out of Baltimore city mirrors that of another local tech CEO, Todd Marks.
Marks is now mulling over where to relocate the Catonsville-based web and mobile design agency he founded, Mindgrub Technologies. He needs more space for his Baltimore-based staff, which now numbers more than 50 full-time employees.
In September during a Baltimore City Council hearing, Marks sketched out some of his considerations regarding whether he would move Mindgrub into a new office in the city, or whether he would move his headquarters to the county:
The determining factors for him … include city culture, tech ecosystem and the cost of doing business. He said the public school system was a major reason why he hesitates to bring his company to Baltimore city, fearing his employees won’t want to send their kids to the beleaguered urban district and so will face a longer work commute.
Marks, in other words, is echoing the sentiments of local startup founders when they consider where to locate in the first place: why should they put their business in Baltimore city? Leadership: that’s what Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke told Marks then.
She said to Marks: “It’s not just money, it’s not just marketing, it’s participating.”