A new strip retail center is rapidly replacing what has been a 20-year-old eyesore in the Hillendale Park community.
"This is a welcome relief to the community," said Louis Hladky, president of the Hillendale Park Community Association. "That lot has been an eyesore for 20 years or more."
Due for completion around April, the Taylor Park Shopping Center will house a combination of retail stores and offices on a one-acre lot at the corner of Taylor Avenue and Bon Air Road just west of Perring Parkway.
A service station on the location closed in the early 1970s, Mr. Hladky said. For many years after that, the station remained, a boarded-up derelict that invited break-ins and vandalism.
The community had several clashes with the former owner of the property over its condition during that period, said Mr. Hladky.
The lot area in front of the filling station was often leased by various vendors to sell either Christmas trees, flowers or fruits and vegetables.
When Dr. Ibid Riaz and Taylor Park Development Limited Partnership, the present owners, bought the property in 1985, the station was torn down. The Taylor Park Shopping Center proposal was approved in 1987 by the County Review Group, the Baltimore County agency that approves development plans. Construction began on the building last July.
So far, a Baskin-Robbins ice cream store has committed to move in, said Rudy Aquino, the project's leasing agent. He said the center also will have a flower shop, a convenience store and several other retailers on the ground floor.
Professional offices, such as dentist offices and an engineering firm, will occupy the second floor, Mr. Aquino said.
Mr. Hladky said the community association got the developer to agree to landscape the property and to provide adequate storm-water drainage because of drainage problems along Taylor Avenue.