Main Street Looks Ahead to New BMW Shop

Bart’s Motor Works on Main Street will be torn down and rebuilt.

Main Street auto repair shop is set to become the next revitalized property in the historic district.

The garage, which sits between Harryman House and Java Mammas, is set to be demolished in March and replaced with a two-story, 5,000-square brick office building, something the developers say will fit better with the area.

“It can just help things…anything on the street [that will] look better and more appealing,” said Java Mammas owner Carrie Gorham. “Even if I don’t feed customers of it directly, it looks better for the block all around.”

The two-story building will include office space on the second floor, a space inside the first floor where high-end, pre-owned vehicles will be sold and a 12-bay auto service shop will be located in the rear of the building, according to David Karceski, a lawyer, and Robert Hanna, an engineering consultant, both of whom represented the garage’s owners at a meeting in December of the Reisterstown-Owings Mills-Glyndon Coordinating Council.

Up to six used cars will be parked in front of the building, Karceski said. Demolition is slated to start in March, and the entire project is expected to be finished within eight months, Hanna said.

Gorham’s only concern is that the eight months of construction might make access to her coffee shop and eatery a bit harder for customers. However, BMW shop manager Bart Weinberg is a dedicated Java Mammas customer, and Gorham hopes he’ll steer construction workers in her direction.

Other Main Street advocates that they weren’t aware of a public meeting held to discuss the project. Now, the concern is on the owners seeking Business Roadside (BR) zoning from Baltimore County, “the most permissive commercial classification,” according to the Baltimore County Department of Planning website.

“Some people are concerned that if that happens they may try to buy Java Mammas and expand it and make it a real car operation,” said Glenn Barnes, president of the Reisterstown Improvement Association.

He said he’s concerned that a large-scale auto operation would take Main Street further away from shops and restaurants, and contribute to Reisterstown’s reputation of being the place for auto parts, repair shops and gas stations.

Barnes is also concerned that customers at Harryman House and residents living in properties behind the shop will be looking at a repair garage if proper landscaping isn’t installed. But Barnes said his speculation is outweighed by his feeling that the new building will substantially brighten up the area.

“It will be a major improvement over what’s there currently,” he said. “…Obviously, it will be a welcome addition.”

Kevin Considine March 01, 2012 at 09:56 PM
While I am not an advocate of poorly maintained properties, I must say that the modern look and overall scale of the operation doesn't seem to fit with the quaint nature of the surrounding buildings. I would hate to trade the homeyness of Main Street for the overdeveloped sprawl of Reisterstown Road that has been creeping farther and farther north. Rezoning that area could spell the end of our town as we know and have come to love it.
Carole Bognanni March 02, 2012 at 02:35 AM
I agree with Kevin Considine! It does not fit into a historical town. What they fail to show in the picture is an iron fence on a half brick bottom fence in the front of the building. What I want to know, if they are putting a showroom inside the front of the building, how are people suppose to see the cars with the iron fence and columns on the front of the building. The building is brick on the front and the sides are to look like brick. Common sense is anything new will be an improvement over any existing building. New is always nicer no matter what look it is. If there are thoughts that they might expand into Java Mama's, then the street that is between the 2 locations will not exist anymore. Right? Also if there are 12 service bays, what about the noise? This shop is working very late hours now. Camden Auto Shop agree to put up high fences to keep noise down...I can hear the noise and speakers a block south of their shop. I guess this might be the start of Main St looking like Ritchie Hwy!
Buck Harmon March 02, 2012 at 01:42 PM
Were there any public meetings that would address public concerns?, or did developers just slide this one through.....it is located in the historic portion of Reisterstown. Most artist renderings look great.... I've seen completed projects that look nothing like renderings because of material choices that came after construction begins.
Carl J. Galler March 02, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Hi Buck. My office is directly accross the street from the current and proposed buildings. I first heard about the development through my office manager Glenn Barnes who is President of the Reisterstown Improvement Association. There was also a sign announcing the public hearing for the proposed zoning change posted for a couple of weeks on the curbside directly in front of the current building so I know that community input was solocited and I'm sure has impacted the plans. Although I guess one could say there is charm in the existing old-fashioned 2 bay garage; in my opinion the new building, will be a vast improvement on the streetscape and more in line with the period architecture of Main Street, Reisterstown. Change is inevitable. I'm just glad that there is a developer with the resources to do a decent job on that lot versus just cobbling together structures like it is now.
BoricuaMama March 02, 2012 at 07:35 PM
I take walks regulary down Main street. I always thought that the current bmw auto shop was terribly ugly and stuck out like a sore thumb. I think the new building looks great! I can't wait to see it.


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