Community Surrounding Solo Cup Says 'No' to Foundry Row
Patch hit the streets to speak with residents and business owners near the Solo Cup plant, where developers are proposing to build the Wegmans-anchored center Foundry Row. Here's what they said.
As developers make moves on three Owings Mills projects, residents and business owners near the most controversial of the three remain concerned about negative impacts to the community.
From grocery store employees to business owners to residents of Mill Towne Village Apartments, everyone's got something to say about Foundry Row, the Wegmans-anchored center proposed for the Solo Cup plant.
Developer Greenberg Gibbons has applied to down-zone the property from manufacturing to retail, and plans to build a 130,000 square foot Wegmans, approximately 243,000 square feet of other retail, 13,500 square feet of restaurants and 40,000 square feet of office space.
The developers behind two other projects -- the transit-oriented Metro Centre development and the Owings Mills Mall revamp -- have voiced their opposition to Foundry Row, citing traffic and an oversupply of retail among their concerns.
Patch conducted random man-on-the-street interviews in the area around the Solo Cup plant and the apartments directly across the street. Most people interviewed have concerns with the project.
Charmaine Brown, a Safeway employee, said she thought the development, specifically the Wegmans that will anchor the project, would have a negative effect on surrounding businesses, including Safeway.
“Traffic is the main reason why everybody’s against [the Solo Cup development],” she said.
Several others cited traffic as a major concern.
“Every day there’s an accident,” said Mabin Prabsan, the manager of Deli 23, an Owings Mills convenience store. “If they come, maybe every day [there will be] 20.”
Justin Rosen, a resident of Mill Towne Village Apartments, which is directly across from Solo Cup, said that he believed that the difficult turn into the apartment community will become even harder with the introduction of Foundry Row. New to the area, Rosen explained that he didn’t know too much about the issue, but wondered why the Wegmans couldn’t be a part of the Owings Mills Mall redevelopment.
Some don't think community opposition has much power in this situation.
“They may do [the three projects together] no matter what people want, and we’ll have to live with the consequences,” said Charles Winkelman, the owner of Signs by Tomorrow, an Owings Mills sign and graphics company. Winkelman is pessimistic about the Foundry Row project because of the current economic climate.
“Just a little drive about will tell you how many retailers are hurting in this area, and now they’re going to build a humongous campus to compete with these folks,” he said.
Prabsan had similar sentiments, saying that business was hurting, and the addition of the Wegmans could put him out of business.
While many oppose Foundry Row, there are some local residents that see the potential benefits.
“It brings something new and something interesting to the community,” said Janet Barnes, who lives in Mill Towne Village. Barnes shops at Giant, and doesn’t expect that to change with a Wegmans nearby. Still, she sees herself shopping at the new grocery anchor occasionally because of the convenient location.
Those on both sides of the fence will hear about the fate of the proposed development on Tuesday, Aug. 28, when the Baltimore County Council votes whether or not to rezone the Solo Cup plant.