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Wegmans Coming to Owings Mills

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced Monday that the upscale grocery store would anchor development at the old Solo Cup property.

Wegmans has signed a lease to anchor new development at the old property in Owings Mills, a Baltimore County statement said.

The upscale grocery store, known for its gourmet offerings, has only one other location in Baltimore County. A Hunt Valley store, which opened in 2005, was the first.

"Attracting this premier chain is part of our larger strategy to redevelop not only the Solo site, but the Owings Mills Mall and the Metro Centre project as well," County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said. "I am working hard to jump start momentum in the Owings Mills corridor.

"A Wegmans-based retail center will energize community activity throughout the Owings Mills Town Center."

The new development Wegmans will anchor even has a name, according to Kamenetz: Foundry Row in Owings Mills. A construction start and end date has not been set for any development on the property, which still must undergo rezoning.

Community officials said last week that Owings Mills developer Greenberg Gibbons Commercial was considering Harris Teeter, Whole Foods and Wegmans as possible anchors to the shopping center that should be built on the old Solo Cup property ."

Harris Teeter and Whole Foods both denied plans to open locations in the area last week.

The planned 125,000-square foot grocery store is expected to employ 600 people, said Jo Natale, a Wegmans spokeswoman. She could not say how many of those 600 would be full-time employees.

The Wegmans in Hunt Valley Towne Centre is larger -- 140,000-square feet, Natale said -- but that does not mean there will be fewer options in the Owings Mills store.

"More recently, we’re building stores a little smaller," Natale said. "We’ve become more efficient; we can offer just as much in a little less space."

Stores planned to open next year in Columbia and Crofton are also expected to be 125,000-square feet, Natale said.

"The prospect of Wegmans in Owings Mills provides a great opportunity to move important projects forward," county councilman Ken Oliver said.  "Owings Mills has wonderful potential, and Wegmans can lead the way."

The news comes on the heels of Kamenetz's announcement that the Owings Mills Mall will be in a joint venture by General Growth Properties and Kimco Realty.

Jeffrey Freedman November 14, 2011 at 11:01 PM
I love the idea of the Wegmans, but not the tearing down of the mall. I think Kevin Kamenetz still needs to listen a little closer to community members and allow us to have more input instead of just going with what he personally wants. Then, work for us based on the input that we give him.
BluePeace November 15, 2011 at 01:19 PM
Jeffrey, I admire your passion for preserving the mall. However, my friend, we aren't talking about a building that has historic or architectural value of any sort. Let it die. The mall needs to be torn down and redeveloped into something fresh and new. It's not going to survive under its current form. It's clear and simple: the community did not support the mall - pay a visit there and you shall see for yourself.
Sylvia Davis November 15, 2011 at 02:21 PM
When
Alexander Pyles November 15, 2011 at 02:33 PM
"A construction start and end date has not been set for any development on the property, which still must undergo rezoning."
Kevin November 15, 2011 at 07:46 PM
I am all for bringing more jobs to the area, but what about the traffic? That stretch of Reisterstown Road is one of the reasons I moved from Owings Mills to Glyndon. It may be further away, but I will still go to Wegman's in Hunt Valley just to not deal with the traffic mess.
Alexander Pyles November 15, 2011 at 07:50 PM
That's definitely a concern, Kevin. The county asked help from the state to add an access road or widen Reisterstown Road. Here's that story: http://patch.com/A-nqGd. The developer of the retail center has also said it will build a four-lane access road: http://patch.com/A-n5Qm. These will hopefully alleviate some traffic concerns, but I agree with you that volume will probably still be an issue.
Jeffrey Freedman November 15, 2011 at 11:39 PM
You are correct that the building does not have any historical or architectural value or that it is not supported right now. I visit every once in a while and that is obvious. However, it should be noted that Kevin Kamenetz needs to do a better job soliciting community input as to how to develop or redevelop an area. If you want the community to support your ideas, then their input is essential. Still I e-mail him with no response. Apparently he does not want to speak to those who do not support all his plans.
BluePeace November 16, 2011 at 12:27 AM
Although that stretch of Reisterstown Road is highly congested, I have seen worse. However, I do think the county/state and the developer will figure out a way to mitigate the traffic congestion around that area. And since the Solo property will undergo demolition and redevelopment, it would be the opportune time to "widen" both Painter's Mill and R-town Roads concurrently where the Solo property abuts the right of ways. In reality, there is no answer to traffic volume, especially when there are no other alternative, direct routes to get to/from Owings Mills Blvd. and/or I-795. That Owings Mills Blvd. "exit" (at R-town Road) is a terrible traffic design.
Nick Farano November 16, 2011 at 02:32 AM
Maybe it's because I'm from Long Island, but I don't understand why the Wegmans itself is so exciting. Isn't it just another grocery store? I've never been to one, but maybe I need some insight.
Donna B. November 16, 2011 at 03:39 AM
It can be nicer than Giant. More options. You should go and see it for yourself. I'd prefer Whole Foods myself, but what can ya do? ;-)
Donna B. November 16, 2011 at 03:42 AM
Just curious, what kind of power does Kevin Kamenetz really have over what stores decide to build here? How do you know it's what he "personally wants"?
Jeffrey Freedman November 16, 2011 at 04:18 AM
@ Donna (Comment #2)--Kevin Kamenetz, in his high authority seems to be able to speak to the executives of the companies that make decisions for what development or redevelopment takes place in the area. This can be good and bad. It's good that someone can actually speak with those people, but it has turned out, in my opinion, to be very bad because I can't even remember once where he actually spoke to the community about these plans, gathered personal feedback, allowed for voting, etc. I know that he is not required to do that, but if he wants us to support these businesses, then we should be allowed to have just as much input if not MORE than he does! Therefore, since he decided on his own what decisions to make, they appear to me to be personal, political moves, only used to satsify Kevin Kamenetz's agenda. He cannot just assume that everyone is going to support every decision that he makes. And when these moves are questioned, he does not respond nor address the community's concerns. They are just brushed aside. It's really a sad state of affairs when politics override the community's needs and concerns.
Kelvin November 18, 2011 at 03:20 AM
Just as an FYI... There are two major projects being planned by the State Highway Administration. This information is publicly available: 1) Widening of MD 140 (Reisterstown Road) from Owings Mills Blvd to Garrison View Rd (Including the intersection with Painters Mill Rd and the frontage of the Solo Cup Factory) - currently under design. Last I checked - the project was at the Semi-Final stage (i.e. 65% design). 2) Widening of I-795 to add a third lane between the Franklin Blvd and the Owings Mills Blvd interchange, and the addition of a new interchange with Dolfield Blvd. This one is currently in the late planning stages... A design was approved after several public meetings and reviews. I believe that they're finishing up the last of the environmental documentation needed for a project of this size. It'll be a few more years before it goes into construction - but rest assured it's coming. Of course - the county needs to complete the Dolfield Blvd extension to Reisterstown Road first. That's going to take a while as well - since it requires some residential relocations.
Trixie Leigh November 23, 2011 at 11:56 AM
@ Kelvin, we really need 795 widened to 4 lanes from OM to the Beltway. Any plans in the works for that?
Mitch November 26, 2011 at 06:25 PM
Shouldn't we find another manufacturing company to take over at Solo? The Owings Mills mall redevelopment can be enough for now. Wegmans can go there. Once zoning changes we may never get manufacturing back with quality wages. However, if none can be found, then Solo site could be considered after years of searching.

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