Owings Mills business leaders sent a letter to several county officials that contradicts the sentiment that three development projects in Owings Mills amounts to too many.
The letter was prompted by recent “news articles and statements at public meetings” in which officials involved with the mall redevelopment and Metro Centre project have said they
Patch Monday afternoon obtained a copy of the Owings Mills Roundtable's letter, which said that the group “has expressed its general support for all three projects.” The group consists of Owings Mills' largest employers and major stakeholders, such as , , Legg Mason and more.
“Having quality nearby retail for our current and prospective employees to easily access is an important element in our ability to attract and retain talented employees to our business,” stated the letter signed by roundtable chair Kenneth V. Moreland. “The energy created by the three proposed development projects will inure to the benefit of the entire Owings Mills community and positively impact the draw of additional businesses to the area."
The letter was addressed to county planning director Andrea Van Arsdale with copies to Baltimore County Planning Board Chair Edward J. Gilliss, Baltimore County Council Chairwoman Vicki Almond, District 4 County Councilman Ken Oliver, planning staffers Diana Itter and David Allen Green and Owings Mills Corporate Roundtable Director Brenda L. Crabbs.
The three projects in question include , which involves breaking down most of the current structure and building an outdoor center; , a "downtown Owings Mills" with offices, shops, a community college branch and library; and , the proposed redevelopment of the former Solo Cup plant that would be anchored by Wegmans. To move forward at Foundry Row, developers need the county to change the zoning from manufacturing to retail.
Vicki Almond, who is in touch with all the parties, said she believes the . But some of the developers disagree.
Geoffrey Glazer, vice president of acquisitions and development for the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions for mall developer Kimco, said fixing the mall should be the No. 1 priority and redevelopment of other properties will make the mall project less appealing to retailers.
“We’ve got some phone callers from retailers who would like to be interested in this project, but are unwilling to commit while [Solo Cup redevelopment is] hanging out there," he said. "[They’re] also saying that, 'If a Wegmans goes out there, I can’t survive back here.'”
Howard Brown, president of Metro Centre development company David. S. Brown, said he is also concerned that the Solo Cup project, called Foundry Row, could undermine his project.
But Brian Gibbons, president and CEO of Greenberg Gibbons Commercial, disagrees, saying his project will improve traffic in the corridor and is smaller and not competition to the other projects.
“It’s a grocery-anchored project. It’s really not a big project,” Gibbons said.
No matter what happens, the members of the Owings Mills Corporate Roundtable say their companies are committed to staying in town.
“Members of the Owings Mills Corporate Roundtable are committed to Owings Mills and have worked over the last 17 years in support of making Owings Mills a premiere business community,” the letter said.