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Poll Funded By Mall Developers Shows Voters Oppose Foundry Row

A poll conducted by Annapolis-based Opinion Works shows that area residents have concerns about the development process, the economy, taxpayer burden and would like Foundry Row stopped or delayed.

A poll funded by developers who are opposed to shows that those surveyed have serious concerns about the development proposed for the Solo Cup plant site and would like to see it stopped or delayed.

The Baltimore County Council votes whether to rezone the Solo property on Tuesday, Aug. 28.

Those polled on behalf of "the Owings Mills Team" indicated developers have too much power over development decisions, there should be more public review of the project, the mall should be developed first, and the local economy and infrastructure cannot handle the project along with other Owings Mills developments.

“A total of 62 percent said they oppose the project or think it should be delayed, 21 percent preferred that Foundry Row not be built at all and 36 percent thought it should be postponed until after the site is redeveloped,” said a memo distributed by Kearney O’Doherty (KO) Public Affairs. Five percent of those polled said they might support the project after a public review process.

The Owings Mills Mall team includes Kimco and General Growth Properties, and other businesses and developers with interests in the area, according to Howard Libit of KO. The memo summarizing the results was addressed to KO, the company handling public relations for Kimco and the Owings Mills Mall redevelopment project.

KO said the poll surveyed 1,105 registered voters who live in Baltimore County Districts 2 and 4 in May. KO released the memo last week.

Ken Oliver, councilman for District 4, which includes the Metro Centre at Owings Mills and Owings Mills Mall, said he wants more review of the project before Solo Cup gets rezoned for retail. Vicki Almond, councilwoman for District 2, which includes the Solo Cup plant, said she believes all three projects can happen together in Owings Mills.

The memo to KO said, “The decision to rezone the Solo Cup site to allow retail developer (should) be more of a public process involving citizens and stakeholders to address concerns.”

Both and have held public hearings on rezoning issues in recent months, where members of the public could speak for two minutes on issues that concern them.

The majority of those responding to the Owings Mills Mall Team poll listed taxpayer impact of Foundry Row as their main concern after being told that it will take $50 million tax dollars for transportation improvements. Foundry Row developer Greenberg Gibbons has pledged , and produced a traffic study summary saying that the road improvements would adequately manage traffic issues.

The survey also cited environmental concerns and a preference for transit-oriented development among other voter issues, but those were not at the top of the list.

“Other issues are important…but such issues fall behind the leading ideas mentioned above: Lack of a public process, the limitations of the economy, more appropriate positioning for retail at Owings Mills Mall, traffic impacts along Reisterstown Road and concern for tax burden,” the memo to KO said.

Jake August 16, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Yet again, Marc Shapiro proves that he is nothing more than a mouthpiece for propaganda. Try some actual reporting and ask random people Marc! Ask randomly selected people instead of rewriting press releases from Brown. If you woke up tomorrow in 1940 Germany, I guess you would just be taking the Joseph Goebbels words as gospel and saying that Germany was not doing anything bad to any of its people. Or 1944, you would report that Germany was near a great victory. Lord have mercy! Marc, Brown is nothing more than a petty dictator himself yet you report his findings and opinions as though they are reality.
Alexandra Chat August 16, 2012 at 06:03 PM
Whoa Jake! This is not Marc's opinion, he's only reporting a story. This is not Marc's poll! That said, how about a poll funded by the Foundry Row developers? Seems a little biased as most comments on the Patch are in favor of Wegman's coming to OM. All you people out there screaming where are the jobs, well DUH! If the other developers (Brown, Kimco) are so worried about Foundry Row, obviously they feel it will be very successful. Gosh, never heard the myriad of housing developments in Owings Mills complaining about each other building - build it and they will come and have some faith in your own project. Gee whiz!!
KW August 16, 2012 at 06:29 PM
This poll sounds so skewed. What voter wouldn't have questions about taxpayer burden after being told that road improvements will cost 50 mil, but the builder is only paying 7 mil??? That is deceptive. The roads need improvements anyway. The developer is yielding right-of-way for road mods on their land and building improvements to support the development. Without the builder's improvements taxpayers pay ALL (whenever the funds are appropriated - hasn't been done yet). Is that better? Wegmans is in the business of being successful. They are nationally-known and one of the most respected and well-regarded companies in the country. They have outstanding customer service. They know how to run their business - where to place it, how to get people to it (happily). Ken Oliver doesn't know better than them, nor do most other people (including me).
Maryland August 16, 2012 at 06:32 PM
Kimco is getting extraordinarily desparate. If there were any lingering doubts that Kimco is funding the Say No To Solo Coalition, this should put that to bed. Their messages are exactly the same, and their lies are all over this push poll.
KW August 16, 2012 at 06:44 PM
I think these people (Ken Oliver included) are being selfish and gullible by saying the mall should be developed first. Why? Why must their be a first? And why, oh why, should we pander to the mall developer and their whims when they have Failed this community so far? Let's see, give up on Wegmans for the unreliable mall developer and their questionable rudimentary plans? Really? ... Really? We've had all our eggs in one bucket long enough. It's time to be smart and spread them out into a another bucket (one that doesn't have Brown or Kimco/General Growth written on the side).
Stewart Richardson August 16, 2012 at 07:11 PM
Jake, your comments might be fair criticism if The Patch was supposed to be opinion-based, but it's not, it's actual journalism (this article simply reported the fact that the survey happened). There is a difference. The article clearly states who funded the survey so that any reader with a clue can easily conclude the survey might be propaganda not fact. You appear to have done that successfully. I believe that "news" that mixes editorial and opinion in is a huge problem today, and thankfully, The Patch keeps the lines clear on this. When I and many (most?) others read about the jockeying on this development, it is clear that the Foundry opposition might be heavily using slanted surveys, questionable political connections, questionable studies, and shadily gathered petitions, but those suppositions aren't an excuse for compromised journalism standards. They're just good possible leads for the next story!
Marc Shapiro (Editor) August 16, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Jake, I have done nothing but report both sides of this story from the start. In my effort to keep the community up with all goings-on of this development, when I get a poll, I share that with my readers. I've made it very clear who funded this study. I ask that you keep your eye on the site, because I am working on many more stories about this development debate.
Jake August 16, 2012 at 07:37 PM
It is not my opinion that Mr. Shapiro needed to say the poll was pure propaganda or give any of his own views. What Mr. Shapiro could have done to produce a strong piece of journalism: at least interview one out of the thousands of people in our community who believes that Foundry Row/Wegmans would be the best new addition to our community in years. Just one - for this article. That's journalism. Unfortunately, not all article readers are willing or able to read each article about an issue over many months or years; therefore, context should always be provided in each article.
Sher Katz August 16, 2012 at 10:55 PM
1,105 residents out of over 51,000 residents in Owings Mills alone, which I'm assuming is district 2. So less than 2% of the population for this area was surveyed. The first problem with this survey is that it was hardly a large enough sample to determine actual thoughts of residents on the issue. Second, it was obvious that the survey takers were bias, and the questions were not straight forward leading to ambiguous answers. I got 2 of those phone calls, each of the questions asked were squewed against Foundry Row. When I confronted the caller about the actual issues one stumbled and the other yelled at me and hung up. Yes, Ms. Supik I've taken Statistics.
Sher Katz August 16, 2012 at 11:06 PM
It was announced in November 2011 that Kimco had purchased 50% of the mall. 9 months ago. Instead of putting energy into Foundry Row not happening, maybe they could put energy into doing something at the Mall? Or maybe the Franks Crafts location that sits as a boarded up eye soar on Reisterstown Road?
ZIG August 16, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Ever since General Growth acquired the Rouse Company the Mall has gone downhill They and their sucessors had their chance. Let the Mall crumble to dust. Let us move ahead with development by competent people.
Robert Bloomberg August 16, 2012 at 11:58 PM
How many people do you think a surveyed to give a national poll on the presidential election. Usually, its less than 1000 for the entire country. If its not a sample then its a census.. You may have taken stats but did you pass. Why are your reponses ad hominem instead of issue and fact based? The Foundry Row facebook site has banned my comments from posting on their site. Maybe I was speaking to close to the truth,
Robert Bloomberg August 17, 2012 at 12:27 AM
Do you remember when Wegman's said the only place they'd locate was in Tesas MD? When that didn't work they went to Hunt Valley and the rest is history.
Maryland August 17, 2012 at 12:51 AM
Do you remember when Wegmans turned down Hunt Valley Mall over and over for 7 years as they did with Owings Mills Mall? Didn't think so.
BrownGirl71 August 17, 2012 at 02:47 AM
I listened to Brian from Greenberg Gibbons last week on the Dan Rodricks show, and he had some propaganda of his own to push. All these players have something at stake... There's a lot of money involved with this debate, and there are deep pockets on both sides of it. I don't think any of them have completely clean hands.
ReisterstownMAN August 17, 2012 at 10:18 AM
I say screw the damn mall. It has done nothing for anyone. It is an eye soar and needs to go! Or let it stand there, not hurting anyone....accept the people who walk in there. I for one never go there, and like to stay away. I am all in for WEGMANS to come to the old SOLO property. A business is willing to come to the area and people are opposing it? People get with it...the mall has been in the sewer for years! The mall did nothing to fix it, why give them a chance now? They released 10 months ago all over the news they were going to tear it down and start work asap.....I am sorry, but I dont see any work being done at the mall at all. Last I heard from someone who works there in one of the stores said they got word nothing will happen in the next year to year in a half.
Maryland August 17, 2012 at 10:54 AM
BG71, hasn't Greenberg Gibbons gone on record in support of the mall and Metro Centre as well, even to the point of offering to buy and redevelop the mall if Kimco backs out? Maybe Kimco should stop holding the mall hostage and let a developer with experience step in and get it done. There are plenty of open air fashion malls that survive without grocery stores.
ddbs00 August 17, 2012 at 11:59 AM
My point was that you can't denounce someone else's propaganda with propaganda of your own. Of course there are players on both sides with deep pockets and real interest in seeing their side wins. But as a real man on the street, I've run across not one single person who doesn't love the idea of a Wegmans in O.M. Its proposed location at Foundry Row isn't a deal breaker for anyone. And for the record, Greenberg Gibbons has been pretty clear they're behind their own interests. I have no idea who's really behind the Say No to Solo "coalition."
Sher Katz August 17, 2012 at 12:13 PM
Actually Mr. Bloomberg, the Say No to Solo facebook page removed more than 20 comments they didn't like as well, in addition to blocking several people I know. I not only agree with allowing the rezoning of the Solo site but am appalled at the antics of the Say No to Solo Coalition. My point on this survey, or frankly any survey, is that if your sample size is too small, the margin for error can be larger. And in this case, since I was privy to the content of the questions and received the survey twice, in my opinion it was not an accurate survey, no matter the size of the sample. What part of my comments are false? And frankly I did pass with a rather high grade, thanks for asking.
Sher Katz August 17, 2012 at 12:16 PM
But how many new stores opened in Towson Town Center in the last year? (owned by General Growth Properties) We are not their priority.
BrownGirl71 August 17, 2012 at 01:51 PM
Last I heard, there are 7100 signatures behind Say No... Whose to say they haven't all pooled some resources to buy paper to make fliers and burn their own gas and free time to get their message out? It's obvious to most that GG has more money than Say No, but there's no price tag on passion for an issue if you feel strongly enough about it. Just because you are bigger and can speak louder does not mean the dissenting voices should be ignored.
BrownGirl71 August 17, 2012 at 01:54 PM
Maryland - GG is blowing smoke. If they wanted the mall, they would have made an offer a long time ago.
Chuck Burton August 17, 2012 at 02:00 PM
I am so sick of the secretive tactics of Kimco and General Growth, that I will never again knowingly go to any project owned by them. Lenscrafters and JCP be warned - they were my two favored merchants in the Mall.
Nancy Abramson August 17, 2012 at 02:17 PM
Wegmans and Foundry Row in Owings Mills is a win-win situtation: more and better-paying jobs; a destination store and fresh retail area for shoppers who drive to Hunt Valley; a thriving site instead of vacant eyesore. The mall may come back some day in a resurrected form, but I've spent too many years watching and waiting for things to happen as store by store closed. Grab the Wegman's proposal. We don't need more fast-food, more vacant stores (Krispy Kreme, anyone?,) and more reasons for people to shop outside the area. And don't give me the argument that it will hurt the grocery stores already here. I shop at no less than 5 different ones depending on price, selection and where I am that particular day. The fact that Wegman's chose this area to build is a gift to us. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth!
ReisterstownMAN August 17, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Thats why we should not care about the stupid mall right now.. it has done no purpose for anyone in the past 10 years basically! Look at the all stores that have left... Now that a new store wants to setup shop at the old solo spot the mall has a big issue with it? I mean has the mall done anything recently to show they are willing to rebuild and make the mall a better place? I think not....! so personally I say screw the management and the mall for their lies!
BluePeace August 17, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Hey, Jake...I have an idea - why don't you write for a local paper or a blog? Perhaps you already do so. Stop being so critical of Marc - he is a damn good journalist and has been very fair in his reporting.
BluePeace August 17, 2012 at 08:44 PM
Greenberg/Gibbons should not be held accountable for the mall's inability to redevelop. I say "Go, go, go...Foundry Row...bring on Wegman's....screw Kimco!"
BluePeace August 17, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Nancy, very well stated points. If anyone know of Fredericksburg, Va., you will understand what's happening down there. Yes, some stores have closed due to an over-saturation of retail, but....that market is thriving and it's of similar size of N.W. Baltimore County. The town has a Wegman's, two Super Walmarts, an enclosed Mall, a very large town center with a plethora of shops, restaurants and services. All of the businesses seem to be thriving, except for a few who were able to survive. I think Foundry Row will not hurt the existing businesses along Reisterstown Road, because as Nancy said, people have the freedom to choose and the more of a selection, the more people will spread the dollar.
Maryland August 17, 2012 at 10:00 PM
It is nothing short of hilarious that Greenberg Gibbons is being painted as the goliath in this scenario, as they are a local company going up against 2 of the 3 largest commercial real estate firms in the country. And they did give it a shot at the mall 7 years ago, when they tried to make a deal with Wegmans! Stop gobbling up everything Kimco dishes out.
exd August 21, 2012 at 07:49 PM
If the arrival of Wegmans forces out one or more of the existing supermarkets - it will be their own fault for not providing the types of goods and services the public is looking for. If they wanted to keep their customers, they would have been already providing the things that Wegmans offers, and there wouldn't be a such a rousing chorus of calls for a Wegmans in the neighborhood. If you want to stay in business - make catering to your customers needs and wants your business.

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