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Foundry Row Developer Says It Can Fix Reisterstown Road Traffic

The developer of a Wegmans-anchored shopping center in Owings Mills says his company will mitigate the traffic problems created by the development.

The proposed won’t add to the traffic woes on Reisterstown Road at Painters Mill Road, the project’s developer said. 

In fact, if Greenberg Gibbons Commercial’s proposal for Foundry Row is approved by Baltimore County officials, the traffic situation would improve from the days when the factory was in full operation as the Sweetheart Cup Co., argued Brian Gibbons, president and CEO of Greenberg Gibbons.

Not everyone shares that view. An area developer and at least one state official question Greenberg Gibbons’ plan, which still hinges on the approved rezoning of the Solo Cup site for commercial use.

Before Solo acquired the factory in 2004, more than 1,300 employees worked there, a number that dwindled to 540 until the company announced it would and begin ceasing operations at the factory last summer.

Delivery trucks would visit the factory at all hours, too, contributing to the factory's impact on traffic.

But Gibbons said with several millions of dollars of road improvements and a parking lot that will accommodate only 2,100 vehicles, there will be no negative traffic impact when the outdoor shopping center opens. He said his company would pay for the improvements.

The State Highway Administration already categorizes the Painters Mill Road and Reisterstown Road intersection as failing, spokesman Charlie Gischler said. About 36,000 vehicles already pass through the intersection per day, on average.

“It’s obvious we are going to improve the traffic situation with this project,” Gibbons said from his Owings Mills office, where Solo Cup’s silos were visible from a windowed conference room.

“It has to work. The traffic has to work,” he continued. “We have budgeted a significant amount of improvement.”

Under Gibbons’ proposal, a four-lane access road to the development would be built off Painters Mill Road, providing three separate access points to Foundry Row. An additional lane would also be added to Painters Mill, and to Reisterstown Road, which will run southbound to the end of the Foundry Row property and will include four other entrances to the shopping center.

Gibbons would take chunks of land from the 52-acre acre site to create the new lanes.

“What we’re proposing will improve existing impact,” Gibbons said. “This will go beyond mitigating the impact. I want to make sure it’s done right.”

State Sen. Bobby Zirkin, an Owings Mills Democrat, has concerns about Foundry Row and traffic.  He has been critical of the proposal, saying he wonders if Baltimore County is failing to adequately plan for the future.

"To rush headlong, singing 'Kumbaya,' off a cliff really is not a good way to do government," Zirkin told The Baltimore Sun. "County officials are so busy sending out press releases that they're kind of forgetting their responsibilities in terms of looking at the infrastructure."

Zirkin could not be reached for additional comment.

Howard Brown, president of David S. Brown Enterprises and the developer of the just down Painter Painters Mill Road from where Foundry Row would be built, said Greenberg Gibbons was not going about the project right.

Brown contends that Gibbons’ traffic proposal counts on other property owners allowing the developer to connect his road to that of the shopping center that fronts on Reisterstown Road. The property directly southeast of the Foundry Row site is the St. Thomas Shopping Center, which then connects to the site of a Wal Mart and Sam's Club, which is a Brown property.

For now, Brown said he does not intend to allow the properties to be connected.

“They would like to believe they can manage the traffic with a four-lane road that goes nowhere,” Brown said. “It doesn’t make sense to develop anything on Reisterstown Road anymore … that’s a little rural road compared to what we have here [with I-795 and Owings Mills Boulevard at Metro Centre].”

Gibbons defended his plan. The developer is conducting a preliminary traffic study, and said he was confident his suggested roadway improvements would be sufficient to handle the traffic that a Wegman's supermarket and other small retailers would create.

The study won't be completed, and improvements won't be proposed, unless the Baltimore County Council approves the property for rezoning, Gibbons said. Should the developer get the go ahead, he thinks his lane additions will be sufficient.

“We know how to do these projects,” he said.

Editor’s Note: This is the second story in a series that will report and analyze Owings Mills development arguments. .

This story was changed to clarify Brown's ownership of a development off Reisterstown Road.

Chuck Burton February 01, 2012 at 02:50 PM
So Brown won't allow Foundry Row to connect with St Thomas, even if it would help alleviate traffic problems in the area. Is this at the behest of Giant, his major St Thomas tenant? Actually, it would likely help Giant - I know I shop at both Giant and Wegmans, since Giant often has better prices on some items, while Wegmans has a better atmosphere and service. And Metro Center does not have better connections to 795 than Foundry Row, though that might change if Metro connected through the Mall property. Cooperation could be good for all parties.
Matt February 01, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Mr. Burton: The St. Thomas Shopping Center is not owned by Howard Brown nor by any related entity. It is owned by another developer. This fact was reported incorrectly by the Patch in yesterday's article. Matt Schoenfeld
Alexander Pyles February 01, 2012 at 07:58 PM
That's true, Brown doesn't own St. Thomas, but rather the next area, connected by a road behind St. Thomas. That next area is the site of the Wal Mart off Reisterstown Road.
Norma Bosley February 02, 2012 at 02:53 AM
We need a new vision in Owings Mills. If Gibbons can deliver, then I say Welcome and Thank-you!
Chuck Burton February 02, 2012 at 07:36 PM
Owings Mills has developed in a very hap-hazzard way, because the county has had no plan for how things should have gone. The result is evident in the current traffic problems and developer conflicts, as well as the problems BGE has been working with on Reisterstown Rd and the water tower battle in Reisterstown. Our new county executive needs to look into this.
ddbs00 February 02, 2012 at 07:45 PM
Brown just figures if he's not the one developing the crap out of our area he's not going to help anyone else do it.
Mr E February 03, 2012 at 04:43 PM
>ddbs00 >Brown just figures if he's not the one developing the crap out of our area he's not going to help anyone else do it. Despite the many projects David S. Brown may be involved with, Reisterstown Rd. traffic is horrible regardless of their projects. Let's not cloud the main issue with possibly valid secondary matters. Reisterstown Road traffic flow IS an issue and the development of the Solo Cup property could be good for us, the residents of the area, depending on the solution. Possibly road widening and some other measures to reduce the number of allowed turn-ins and lights. Have any of you seen the traffic at the Wegmans in Hunt Valley? Roads are much wider, 3-4 lanes each way, and it has great parking. It's a MAD HOUSE there on the weekends and many hours of the day during the week. To say: "The proposed Foundry Row retail center won’t add to the traffic woes on Reisterstown Road at Painters Mill Road", THAT'S VERY DOUBTFUL, if not IMPOSSIBLE!! That statement alone should be a RED FLAG to have the County hold some hearings and have the Developer submit his claims and plans for scrutiny, which hopefully will be not a private closed door meeting with County officials and the Developer. ...A Wegman's would be really nice though...
Chuck Burton February 03, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Agree with all Mr E says. Maybe all the developers along Reisterstown Rd could get together (LOL) and put up dough to widen the highway (LOL again). But that would make sense, so fugetaboudit. Mr Owe'Malley woudn't even think about spending state money on such a project unless he thought it would buy him votes when he runs for Senate or House (or Pres).
Mr E February 03, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Alexander Pyles, Would it be possible for you / Patch.com to request a copy of the preliminary traffic study Mr. Gibbons is conducting, when it's complete. I also forgot to mention how interesting it is that the Developer will not complete the 'preliminary' traffic study unless the Baltimore County Council approves the property for rezoning. After thinking about it some more: - Baltimore County Council should NOT approve the re-zoning. - Wegmans should open up at the new Metro Center, which could likely handle the traffic load better. This will eliminate the traffic related concerns with opening it up on Reisterstown Rd. Problem solved. Also, let's demolish Solo Cup and turn it into a Park. That would be great for the community!
Alexander Pyles February 03, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Mr E, I've definitely made that request, and will share that info when I receive it. On the note of Wegmans at Metro Centre -- and I'm trying to have more info on this soon -- Howard Brown said Wegmans would simply be too big for the development as planned and Brown does not intend to alter that plan.
Chuck Burton February 03, 2012 at 08:12 PM
It's true that Wegmans would probably fit better into the redeveloped Mall, but let's get it here somehow to give The 4 Giants some competition. Safeway, Food Lion and Mars are all we have now, since A&P, Shoppers and Weis closed.
Mr E February 03, 2012 at 08:29 PM
Chuck Burton, I think you've got it. The Owings Mills Mall complex needs to be redesigned. Wegman's would be a perfect fit there - much like Hunt Valley. Ironic since Greenberg Gibbons Commercial boasts the Hunt Valley Towne Center as one of their landmark projects. The mall would be a better location then Solo Cup from both a traffic and parking perspective. I guess Greenberg Gibbons wouldn't be the developer of the new mall project, thus their desire to shoe-horn the solution onto a smaller property off Reisterstown Rd. I think the next layer of the onion is that Greenberg Gibbons is trying to use the plans that they've somehow convinced Wegmans and others to agree to, to force the Baltimore County officials to sign-off on the re-zoning. It makes one wonder what incentives Greenberg Gibbons is offering to the Baltimore County Council to approve the property for rezoning??
Stewart Richardson February 03, 2012 at 09:22 PM
It seems like what the section of Reisterstown Road/140 from the OM Blvd cutoff south to St Thomas Shopping Center needs is functional alternative routes to get off 140. All cars are forced through those lights on 140 even though a good chunk of the volume is eventually heading south on Painters Mill, or either direction on OM Blvd & 795. Maybe businesses in this area could get together with county officials and see if they can come up with some some land/plans to build some meaningful alternate outlet roads to divert traffic from 140 to alleviate congestion. I see a potential opportunity on the block north of Painters Mill on 140 (notice all the grass/unused land between the existing buildings). Obviously, it would take creativity, flexibility and open minds to do this since a real solution like this would involve concessions from private property owners. In a word: bypass.
Mr E February 03, 2012 at 11:09 PM
Stewart Richardson, I feel a bypass is just a bandage on the real wound. {joke}Look at what the Interstate 40 bypass did to the town of Radiator Springs.{/joke} People will want to go to Wegman's, they'll most likely come off Reisterstown Road as it's the most direct path. I think the Solo Cup location is just wrong, no matter what Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz proudly states in a press release. http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/News/releases/1117wegmans.html 2 words: Wrong Location

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