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  • To better serve the community, Broadneck Development Corporation has planned several updates to the College Parkway Center, including a restriped parking lot, modern lighting and an improved façade to the building.
    To better serve the community, Broadneck Development Corporation has planned several updates to the College Parkway Center, including a restriped parking lot, modern lighting and an improved façade to the building.

APC, Developers And Community Collaborate To Make College Parkway Center A Viable Asset

Dylan Roche
View Bio
April 8, 2015

Plants aren’t all that will start growing again this spring if improvements continue as expected at the College Parkway Center. The first phase of Broadneck Development Corporation’s plan to update the 30-year-old shopping center is underway, and although none of the changes are dependent on finding a new business to occupy the anchor space — which has been vacant since Fresh & Green’s closed in late fall 2013 — many community members have been excited to hear rumors that Elkridge-based grocer Green Valley Market is considering the site for its second location.

Elizabeth Rosborg, president of Arnold Preservation Council, explained that although some community members have expressed concerns about overdevelopment, she and the APC have striven to facilitate growth for businesses with minimal impact on the quality of life in the nearby neighborhoods. “We’re working to facilitate the best possible outcome for the numerous surrounding communities,” she said of APC’s involvement. “We’ve tried to represent everybody’s interests and work together.”

The long-term plan set forth by Broadneck Development Corporation more than a year ago was to move M&T Bank, currently located in a pad site across the parking lot from the other shops, to a new location next to O’Loughlin’s Restaurant and Pub. A new, modern Rite Aid will be built in place of the old M&T, and the entire parking lot would be restriped to include more spaces.

Additionally, a drive-thru at the new M&T Bank would be installed, and the entire façade of the shopping center would be redone. Up-to-date lighting would be put in, and a breezeway and a garden between O’Loughlin’s and Port Tack Wine & Spirits would create room for outdoor dining.

According to John Dixon of Broadneck Development Corporation, these improvements are on track. There is no set timeline, but he indicated that each stage of construction must happen sequentially to allow Rite Aid and M&T to stay open throughout. “We will do our best to minimize interference with existing tenants so everything can operate as smoothly as possible,” he said.

The challenge of filling the anchor space, Dixon said, has to do with the lease and the location itself. Fresh & Green’s still holds a 35-year lease, which it will sell to a tenant and turn over to Broadneck Development Corporation. The space, however, has its challenges: It is smaller than what would be needed for a large chain grocery, and many of its amenities would need to be updated.

For Green Valley Market, one issue was particularly important — parking. “They requested we try to add a handful of parking spaces, and we came up with a couple of options,” detailed Dixon. “The scheme that worked best for them is to add 10 in front of the store and about five behind the store, so we will pursue that as part of our parking lot improvements.” He added that a county-requested public hearing will give the development company an opportunity to discuss the proposed changes with the community and to introduce Green Valley Market as a possible tenant.

Another priority has been to minimize disturbance in the surrounding residential area. Many homeowners, though eager to see the shopping center remain a viable resource to the community, have been apprehensive about the traffic, noise, light and other issues that could result.

“A grocery store is badly needed there — the whole Bay Hills area would like to have one, a nice one,” said Norm Thompson, president of the Tanglewood Homeowners Association. “Our basic problem is the noise and lighting, traffic and trucks coming in and out of the parking lot. We don’t have a lot of control over what goes on there, but we’re hoping to negate the noise and the lighting and traffic if we possibly could.”

Because Tanglewood is located directed behind College Parkway Center, too much activity, particularly at night, would be a disturbance to the neighborhood. Thompson explained that he and his fellow HOA members have tried to negotiate certain terms with Broadneck Development Corporation — for example, deliveries would have to wait until after 8:00am. Additionally, Thompson said the HOA would like to see a screen of trees or fencing go up between Tanglewood and the center, thus diffusing the light and noise.

Only time will tell what’s to come in the months ahead for the College Parkway Center, but residents and business owners alike remain optimistic. “The citizens would like a new grocery store as soon as possible; however, we also realize that construction will cause a lot of disruption, so it’s a catch 22,” Rosborg said. “The hope is for an updated, full community shopping center that meets the needs of the local residents.”

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