County Council Approves Retail for Solo Cup

The Baltimore County Council voted to rezone the vacant Solo Cup plant in Owings Mills from manufacturing to retail, a move that helps pave the way for Wegmans-anchored center Foundry Row.

The Baltimore County Council voted to in Owings Mills from manufacturing to retail. The vote helps pave the way for Foundry Row, a Wegmans-anchored retail and office center that was dependent on the rezoning to be built at the vacant plant on Reisterstown Road.

The vote comes after months of debate between developers, special interest and community groups and council members.

Developer Greenberg Gibbons plans to build a that would be anchored by Wegmans, and house a national fitness center, a national sporting goods retailer, a national shoe retailer and 40,000 square feet of office space. CEO Brian Gibbons hopes to open the center, called Foundry Row, by spring 2015.

"What the council did was [they were] able to rise above all this nonsense that was being put out there by two of the developers that we all know was behind [the opposition]," Gibbons said. "We're very excited about it."

Foundry Row was the subject of during the summer. Developers behind two other Owings Mills projects have , citing traffic congestion and an overabundance of retail among their concerns. A group called the Say No To Solo Coalition has tried to drum up community opposition with a petition, online campaign and other efforts.

Shirley Supik, leader of the Say No To Solo Coalition, said she plans to bring the issue to referendum.

"According to six of the people that sat up there, none of them gave a damn about what the people have to say," Supik said. "There was only one up there who gave a damn, and that’s Ken Oliver."

nocryinginretail August 29, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Chuck: Sir, good luck getting there. Yes, 16 traffic lights. Count on a few more to deal with the overwhelming traffic that this project will attract with, not only Wegmans, but many, many more stores. More than 200,000 square feet worth of new stores. I suggest you leave your house NOW, if you wish to shop there. As they say, be careful what you ask for because you may get it.
Maryland August 29, 2012 at 02:52 PM
nocryinginretail sure seems to be doing plenty of crying in retail.
ChuckP August 29, 2012 at 02:58 PM
nocryinginretail, you do realize the development plan includes upgrade to infrastructure, right? Or did you not bother to actually learn about the project before getting conned by store owners who don't want to have to raise their service and quality standards to compete with high end retailers?
Daniel August 29, 2012 at 02:59 PM
you seem to be doing a lot of crying for someone with the name "nocryinginretail." Your side lost, resoundingly, and if you waste everyone's time and money with a lawsuit and referendum, you will lose again, but only succeeded in delaying the arrival of GOOD shopping and GOOD jobs to Owings Mills.
Robert Bloomberg August 29, 2012 at 04:09 PM
From the Foundry Row Facebook page: ".... make $7 million of road improvements paid for by Greenberg Gibbons and Vanguard. Foundry Row will accomplish all of this while NOT using one penny of taxpayer money. " It's going to take more than $7M to improve the roads around the project . Did I hear correctly at the hearing last night that the state backed out of the proposal to improve traffic in the area because it was too costly?
Sher Katz August 29, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Mr. Bloomberg, I don't mean to sound rude or patronizing, but what is your background and experience in developing and pricing major road development improvement projects?
Steve Miller August 29, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Steve Miller August 29, 2012 at 04:49 PM
If you've never worked on legislation with controversial issues, you have no idea how in many, if not most cases this is our political system at its worse. Even the best meaning politicians need the big money and power that developers bring every election cycle. We've seen it with the casinos statewide and we see it locally with the retail battle. One of the developers in this story has no problems building "competing" shopping centers against his own merchants in OM. His reputation is legendary, though our county exec did stand up to him previously. Obviously Wegman's is coveted by the community, though many fear the already poor traffic situation will get worse. Many older centers are loaded with vacancies and new stores will further that decline. Big time chains will indeed hurt many small mom and pops. Yes Wegman's will bring more shoppers to the community (as the mall once did), but in a tight economy, don't expect other centers to prosper. If that were the case, the other two developers would be not be opposing this. OM does deserve some decent retail development, not an eyestore as one of the ugliest Walmart's in the country and its bizarre building. Fans of Wegman's will be winners, Safeway and Giant will be losers. Except for traffic near the center, you won't notice anything more. Stores will be close in a marketplace that can't absorb more while new ones will open. In the end, this was big money vs. big money and that's the real bottomline.
Chuck Burton August 29, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Yes, if the state does the road improvements, I'd be very surprised if they didn't cost several times the $7 mil. GG knows what they should really cost before graft and payoffs. And ChuckP says local business doesn't want to have to raise service and standards to compete. 'Nuf said!
Daniel August 29, 2012 at 05:51 PM
When Wegmans wins and Safeway loses, customers have won.
Robert Bloomberg August 29, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Persons who wish to dissent are barred from posting on the Facebook page!!!
Robert Bloomberg August 29, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Sher Katz.... you are being rude and patronizing at the same time. I simply asked the question if the state backed out because the cost to improve the traffic flow was too great?
Robert Bloomberg August 29, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Sher Katz - Up until this post I thought you added some good dialog to the discussion, now you have reverted to the tone of most of the supporters of Foundry Row on this site, ad hominem attack and totally lacking anything salient to the issue. My qualifications for estimating road work have nothing to do with asking if the state backed out because of the extreme expense.
Chuck Burton August 29, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Mr. Bloomberg, Sher Katz wasn't being rude or patronizing - she merely asked you a question, which you didn't answer. And I don't think the state has backed out of doing road improvements; it simply has given greater priority to improvements in other areas of the state, rightly or wrongly. Also, its estimate of greater cost may be partly, at least, because it would cover additional work along Reisterstown Rd beyond Foundry Row to Owing Mills Blvd.
Robert Bloomberg August 29, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Does anyone know if an EPA site survey has been done for hazardous materials? That's a very old facility and may contain hazardous materials such as asbestos.
Charles Kane August 29, 2012 at 08:55 PM
To Robert Bloomberg, yes environmental studies have been done and there are some issues that need to be addressed. The surefire way to get them addressed is to allow the development, in which event all matters will be cleaned up under the auspices of the MD Department of Environment. Without development, the environmental issues will continue to linger.
Charles Kane August 29, 2012 at 08:59 PM
The intersection fails now, so any improvements would be welcome. What about the Metro Centre project 1/2 mile from the intersection? They are spending zero point zero dollars in improving the intersection, even though their plans call for more than ten times the square footage that Foundry Row will create. Why aren't you upset about that? Anyone truly concerned about traffic should ask why Metro Centre isn't doing anything to improve the traffic, and should be thankful that something will be done by Foundry Row. At least it's a start!
Lauretta Nagel August 29, 2012 at 09:12 PM
What a relief. I'm glad we have made it past this milestone. I am getting more and more suspicious of Ms Supik's group based on their actions. Bring th issue to a referendum? Didn't we-the-people just have a very active debate in the council? Didn't our council-persons just vote, hopefully based on our stated desires? You guys seem to want to drag it out because you didn't get the answer you wanted! Most of the folks in Owings Mills WANT this development to go forward.
Robert Bloomberg August 29, 2012 at 09:50 PM
Mr. Kane - thanks for the update. I was just thinking about all the issues at Rosewood from an environmental basis that have stymied its redevelopment.
ddbs00 August 30, 2012 at 01:06 PM
Bring this issue to referendum would be a waste of time, money, and effort. Which means Supik's backers will definitely want to push forward, I'm sure.
Norma Bosley August 30, 2012 at 05:13 PM
The mall and Metro Center have lain dormant for years. Only when the threat of a new development surfaces does action begin...as for the deserted Franks building, how can we make the developers move on that? I live in Tollgate and it makes the entrance to our community look pitiful. Volunteers keep our entrance islands mowed and landscaped but that eyesore detracts from it. Letters have not made a bit of difference.
Carl Waters August 30, 2012 at 10:36 PM
I don't feel that Foundry Row will be operational in a reasonable period of time. 1. Project delay. The Randallstown Wal-Mart project was held up for more than 6 years due in part to contaminated soil left by a small retail. Will Gibbons publish soil samples of the Solo acreage? Will Maryland insure that the acreage is retail safe? With approval, if a problem occurs, will 6 years be the base? What happens in the meantime? Will Gibbons look to the Owings Mills Mall redevelopment? Remember Wegman's is a Food Store; will they jeopardize their reputation by placing a market on tainted soil? 2. Traffic alternatives. A Gibbons recommendation for traffic control shows two existing entrances to Foundry Row and an inland access through St. Thomas Shopping Center and Home Depot. The additional lanes on Painters Mill & Reisterstown Roads wouldn't, in my opinion, help the congestion brought about by Foundry Row and those two entrances. Why not extend Painters Mill Road to a service road behind the businesses across Reisterstown Road. 3. NIMBY. If the developers of St Thomas Shopping Center and Home Depot don't allow access to Foundry Row, then it will remain restricted to the two entrances. With all the monies going into the Owings Mills Centre, I don't understand why Foundry Row is the priority. This approach seems like something that Baltimore City would do. You know, like financing the Baltimore Convention Hilton Hotel or building an obsolete Convention TWICE
Chuck Burton August 31, 2012 at 12:56 AM
If you look at the map which Gibbons published, you'll see four entrances/exits, plus the ones into St Thomas Center.plus three from the new sevice road next to the railroad. One existing exit/entrance on Reisterstown Rd is controlled by traffic lights, as will be the road next to the RR at Painters Mill Rd. The other two - one at Painters Mill, and the service road next to St Thomas Center - have no lights, but access is only to and from the adjoining lane, with no left turns allowed across traffic. I have a bone or two to pick with how traffic within the Row is forced into using parking lanes, but the main entrances/exits seem pretty straightforward. And remember, this is not a public project, it is being financed with private money.
Trixie Leigh August 31, 2012 at 01:36 AM
Rite Aid bought Franks and when the economy tanked, they put it on hold.
donald September 01, 2012 at 12:44 PM
We may not need a stadium in Owings Mills, but we certainly can use a Wegmans. With the ongoing downslide and the relatively poor real estate valuation performance we can't afford to just continue down the same path. After very careful thought, my vote is in favor of Wegmans.
Karri Vaughn September 04, 2012 at 03:16 PM
We just recently moved to the area so my understanding of this entire situation is limited. After reading several articles and the comments here, I figured I could at least comment on the Owings Mills shopping situation from an essential outside party. It is easy to do so because it is relatively nonexistent. When we made our decision to move to this area, we thought it was a good choice. The area appeared to have more shopping then we had back home while still sitting comfortably outside of the city setting. It only took me 1 week to realize our assumption was incorrect. I know drive 30 minutes away for a decent grocery store. I have walked out of local businesses on 4 occasions because of the service. It seems that I am spending most of my money in other cities or counties. I may not be totally knowlegable on this subject but I do know enough to know there is a problem. We really like this area and the people and would like to stay so I hope this is a move in the right direction for Owings Mills.
Chuck Burton September 04, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Karri, you have stated the problem very well, and, though I find good service at Trader Joe in Pikesville, and fair at the Cherryvale Giant and low prices for basics at Aldi, I can hardly wait til Wegmans moves in. Then the other stores will either shape up or die. As for other things, at my age (80s) I don't need a lot, but mostly buy on-line. But younger people and families in the area are really hurting for better shopping, and my hope is that Wegmans will lure some of that into Owings Mills, and also into District 4 (Listening, Mr. Oliver?)
KW September 06, 2012 at 04:20 PM
The two negatives I keep hearing regarding Foundry Row are (1) traffic and (2) it will hurt existing businesses. Personally, I think that what Wegmans will bring to this community is worth some extra traffic. That said, I believe that the developers will mitigate any potential traffic negatives, so traffic/getting to the store doesn't impact Wegmans' customer service-oriented image. But, I don't completely understand the business closure argument. I can understand that Wegmans will affect Safeway and Giant, but what small mom-and-pops will be affected by Foundry Row? Much of the retail space will be taken up by the sports retailer (something like Dicks, I assume), the gym, and the national shoe retailer (DSW?). We can use all of those, IMO. I don't think any of them should significantly impact other area businesses. So, is it just the anticipation of the other stores that has people worried? Looking at Hunt Valley, I can think of many stores that could do well at Foundry Row, and not significantly affect other area businesses.
Cher Vail September 26, 2012 at 06:49 PM
Ownings Mills Mall The mall is in a great location and is very accessible by the Metro and bus lines, why it doesn't use this to it's advantage is beyond me. I do agree with the older posting of not having the movie theatre attached to the mall. In recent months the Solo plant (just around the corner) has closed and is now going to be torn down and will boast new stores with a vintage look; Wegman's will be one of the major anchors. The Owings Mills Mall more than likely made no effort to try to entice a company like Wegman's or Whole Foods or Cost Plus World Market into the mall as well as other stores of diversity into it's location. Even if they were to try to support an "Outdoor Market" feeling before the new shopping center is to open they might have a chance. "The Ownings Mills Mall; A trip around the World" (copy-write) in one location. Cheri Vail Pikesville, Maryland
Chuck Burton September 26, 2012 at 07:40 PM
The Mall is NOT in a "great location". It is hidden away from everywhere except Red Run Blvd, and even there is hard to notice. The old walkway from the Metro to the Mall was closed because people were being robbed, assaulted and (I seem to recall) killed en route. Maybe people will be able to safely walk through Metro Centre and along the new roadway connecting to the Mall, but that remains to be seen. A police presence would certainly help. It's a shame the street and terrain layout prevents the new Foundry Row from being tied in with Metro Centre and the Mall, which would give Owings Mills a real center, but that's how it is. Is Cheri Vail somehow related to the Cherryvale shopping center?


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