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Foundry Row Moving Forward As Possible Referendum Looms

Foundry Row developers updated the community on the project in a public concept meeting Thursday night.

As the Baltimore County Board of Elections nears a decision on whether or not to bring recent zoning changes to referendum, Foundry Row developers are moving full steam ahead.

“We believe we have every legal right – the county also believes we have every legal right – to process this plan,” said David Gildea, attorney for Foundry Row developer Greenberg Gibbons.

Foundry Row officials updated the community on its plans for the $140 million center in a community input meeting at New Town High School Thursday night. The Wegmans-anchored development is set to contain 420,000 total square feet of retail, restaurants and office space at the site of the vacant Solo Cup plant on Reisterstown Road.

Two groups backed by opposing developers have asking to bring the county’s rezoning decisions to referendum, very little time was spent on the issue at Thursday’s meeting. Those groups aim to overturn two zoning decisions, one being the Baltimore County Council rezoning The Solo Cup site from manufacturing to retail in August, making way for Foundry Row.

Shirley Supik, leader of the Say No To Solo Coalition, said Foundry Row officials can do and say what they want, but she believes the people have spoken out against the project via those signatures.

“As long as the people are not happy with it, then it cannot go forward," she said.

While the referendum has been the subject of heated debate among the communuity, it was discussed minimally at Thursday's meeting.

“People were interested in the actual project,” said Ruth Goldstein, president of the Greater Midfield Association, which represents homes in the Greenspring Valley.

Questions from the crowd focused on traffic, the mix of retailers and road improvements.

Mickey Cornelius of Baltimore-based The Traffic Group reviewed the $7 to $10 million in road improvements Greenberg Gibbons plans to make, which his study says will improve traffic conditions in the corridor.

Mike Pieranunzi, a landscape architect with Century Engineering who gave the main presentation, said the project will have about 90 more parking spaces than the county’s required 2,150.

Greenberg Gibbons CEO Brian Gibbons, who wanted the aerial view of the project to be more symmetrical, made a small tweak to the plan. He added a fourth story to the Foundry Building, the focal point of the project’s Main Street, by taking 20,000 square feet off of a retail building.

The Foundry Building, which was originally going to house a bottom floor of retail and two upper floors of office space, will now house three upper floors of office space, giving the project 60,000 square feet of office space and 360,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space.

In addition to Wegmans, Foundry Row will house a national fitness center, a national sporting good retailer and a national shoe retailer. Gibbons hopes to open the center by spring 2015.

As the referendum threatens to stop Foundry Row, Greenberg Gibbons has taken its own action with the county Board of Elections.

“We have filed an objection and I think it’s under consideration,” Gibbons said.

Cheryl Aaron, zoning committee chair at the Greater Greenspring Association, said the referendum going to ballot was set a “devastating” precedent for Baltimore County communities.

“There was nothing wrong with the [Comprehensive Zoning Map Process],” she said at Thursday’s meeting. “We’ve had more access than ever in this go-round.”

Neily j January 04, 2013 at 08:34 PM
Howard Brown is a greedy and mean person and everyone that deals with him knows that is true!!!! All his buildings are crap!!!
Chuck Burton January 05, 2013 at 03:40 PM
I know nothing about Mr. Brown's personna, but if he is successful in destroying the current zoning process, look for it to turn around and bite him in the butt, as people use referenda against his own future projects. A case of penny wise, pound foolish.
Jane Doe January 05, 2013 at 04:29 PM
I personally would have preferred having Wegman's at the Owings Mills Mall. What a shame to see that place so deserted. But since Wegman's gave an ultimatum that it was to be Foundry Row or nothing it now is what it is. I am now excited to see the project get underway and hope I am around to enjoy it!
michael mooney January 05, 2013 at 09:17 PM
The mall is deserted for a reason that even Wegemans can't fix (the reason they won't go there) the mall in in a horrid location! It has no direct access from any major roadway (795 or 695 or 140) and is too far away from most of the local residence communities. If the mall and solo locations were totally reversed BOTH would have survived better. I am not overly impressed by Wegemans and we really are not desparate for another expensive grocery (we NEED a Shoppers) but this property MUST be redeveloped into something other than one of many abandoned eye sores along 140 between 695 and Reisterstown
Shirley Supik January 06, 2013 at 08:52 PM
Mr Mooney, Yes, this property needs to be redeveloped, but it should continue to be a manufacturing site, where citizens will have real jobs, making a decent wage with benefits. Owings Mills should be known for inovation by bringing in something Green or High Tech. We could be making windmill parts or highly needed medical machine parts, etc. We would be investing in the future to make a better world. Then the traffic would not be as much a problem, because like Solo Cup, they could work on off peak traffic shifts and delivery trucks could come in at night only. It is sad to think that the people would settle for something they don't even need over something that would benefit so many, including the area. There would be no competion to put existing businesses out. Everyone could co-exist together and those businesses who have been loyal to Owings Mills and held it together would be safe. Greed is a terrible thing and so is selfishness. As soon as Solo Closed their doors, It was sold. There is 54 acres there and it should be used for much more than 420,000 sq. ft. of retail. It should be used for something good. Are we going to keep building things that take money out of our pockets, rather than something that puts money in. Yes, Mr. Mooney, this property must be redeveloped, but we need to make sure we do the most good with it and if that takes time and effort, we should devote the time and effort into it, not take the first thing that comes along.
ddbs00 January 07, 2013 at 01:37 PM
No manufacturing is ever going to occur in that location again. To believe otherwise is either a basis for misleading or naive. The SOLO property is either going to be redeveloped into Foundry Row or something similar or it's going to sit there and rot. And no matter how many signatures your group was able to connive on to a petition from around the county the fact remains the vast majority of people in the area with interest in the property and no worry about the competition it will bring want it redeveloped into Foundry Row or something similar.
BrownGirl71 January 08, 2013 at 07:38 PM
Shirley, I am pleased to see that those who care, either way, are still exercising their right to have a say via the referendum process. It is an important issue, and the stakeholders should remain engaged and see it through.
Sher Katz January 08, 2013 at 07:43 PM
or it will sit there and fester as an eye sore like many other parts of Owings Mills...
Ginger Reposado January 10, 2013 at 01:50 PM
I was one of the people that signed under false pretense at the Reisterstown Library. I was pretty pi**ed when I found out that I was duped into adding my signature to try to keep Wegmans out of the community. I love Wegmans, I travel to the location in HV for my major shopping. It would be nice to have one closer for those who enjoy shopping there but don't feel the trip/savings is worth it to travel to Hunt Valley. I do believe that if Owings Mills Mall were developed like Hunt Valley people would find a way to tolerate driving on 795 to get there, but that will never happen. I'm kinda sad I won't be here to see it come to fruition, I'll be moving to St. Thomas USVI in the summer. I hope they hire from within the community when they do open :)
Shirley Supik January 13, 2013 at 05:48 PM
Mr.ddbs00, Mr. Gibbons bought a manufacturing site. He did not buy a retail site and as long as Baltimore County does not rezone these 54 acres, it is not naive or misleading to believe that inovative manufacturing could come to that corner. In the past, as all our County Executives have stated, Baltimore County Manufacturing sites should be protected. This property is no different. Mrs. Bevins is saying developers are now running the show, but she should back up. That is what started it all, big developers like Brian Gibbons pushing something down the throats of the people and when the people spoke out, the Council ignored them and now Mrs. Bevins is once again trying to stop the voice of the people---Just let them vote. One last thing Mr. ddbs00. Everytime you insinuate that we dupped the signers, you make yourself look foolish. First, the people of Baltimore County are more intelligent than that and second, I think people would find it laughable to think we could have dupped 170,000 signers.
Shirley Supik January 13, 2013 at 05:52 PM
Browngirl, Do not worry. Those that need to be are engaged.
Shirley Supik January 13, 2013 at 06:00 PM
Sher Katz, If you don't like the vacancies, call Economic Development and hastle them. If you don't like Frank's sitting vacant, Call Rite Aid. They are the ones who have a binding contract for that property that Kimco can't get out of. Find out who the developer is who was supposed to work a large project across from Franks and is now stalled. Don't just sit on Patch and conplain.

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