Community Members Question, Applaud Foundry Row Plans
Developers spoke about community benefits and took questions on traffic, demolition and the mix of tenants at a community input meeting Monday night.
Owings Mills resident David Ginsburg says he suffers from “consumer frustration.” If he wants to go shopping, he has to leave the immediate area.
After hearing questions and complaints about the traffic that Foundry Row may bring to the Reisterstown Road corridor, Ginsburg stood up to make some comments that were met with enthusiastic applause.
“As far as I’m concerned, Reisterstown Road is screwed,” he said, “and if it’s gonna be screwed, I might as well have a place to shop while I’m sitting in traffic.”
Ginsburg and residents of Owings Mills and the surrounding areas attended a community input meeting on the project proposed for the vacant Solo Cup plant on Reisterstown Road on Monday night at New Town High School. It was the second meeting of its kind, called for by an elected official that felt the public didn’t have enough notice to make it to the meeting on Jan. 3.
Plans have not changed since then, although the circumstances have. The Baltimore County Board of Elections struck down an effort to bring two zoning decisions – including the decision to allow retail at Solo Cup – to referendum. Although the board’s decision gives Foundry Row a green light, community members said they wouldn’t surprised if those that bankrolled the effort, David S. Brown Enterprises and The Cordish Companies, seek other legal remedies to overturn the zoning.
“At this point, nothing would surprise me,” said Tom Fitzpatrick, president and COO at Greenberg Gibbons.
Donna Sills, executive vice president and general counsel at Greenberg Gibbons, spoke about the project before taking questions. She highlighted the 2,300 construction jobs the project will create, the 3,100 permanent jobs at the site and the $12 million in taxes Baltimore County and Maryland will gain from Foundry Row.
The $140 million center, to be anchored by Wegmans, includes 365,00 square feet of retail and 60,000 of office space – “a drastically scaled down version of Hunt Valley,” Sills said.
Asbestos abatement and Demolition will be ongoing over the next eight months, construction should start in early 2014 and the company hopes to open stores in the fall of 2015, Sills and Fitzpatrick said.
The majority of those in attendance were supportive of the projects, although Shirley Supik, who lead the Say No To Solo group, was critical of the developer’s traffic proposal.
Greenberg Gibbons has pledged $7 to $10 million in off-site road improvements that the company maintains will improve the troubled intersections surrounding the project.
“Once they leave your property, it’s going to be another story,” Supik said.
Fitzpatrick believes he has most of the community’s support from what he’s heard at these meetings.
“The community has spoken volumes,” he said.