2 shopping centers will be refurbished Liberty Road face lift to cost $1 million

April 22, 1993|By Ed Brandt | Ed Brandt,Staff Writer

Two rundown shopping centers on Liberty Road a few blocks inside the Baltimore Beltway will be renovated in a $1 million joint venture in which Baltimore County and the centers' owner will split the cost.

Work on the Woodmoor and Liberty Crest shopping centers will begin in about six months, said Adam Wasserman, deputy director of the county's Department of Economic Development.

"We're delighted to be able to move ahead with this project," said Joel Winegarden, vice president of Honolulu Ltd., which owns the shopping centers.

Honolulu is a real estate company owned by the estate of Harry Weinberg, a billionaire businessman who made his fortune in real estate and other ventures.

Mr. Weinberg grew up in Baltimore, but lived his last years in Hawaii.

He died in November 1990, and left almost his entire estate to the Harry and Jeannette Weinberg Foundation, which is dedicated to the care of the poor and elderly.

Harold G. Gordon, chairman of the executive committee of the Coalition of Concerned African-American Organizations, and a leader in the effort to rehabilitate the shopping centers, said, "I'm simply thrilled. They've been an eyesore for a number of years."

Mr. Gordon also cited County Executive Roger B. Hayden and County Council member Melvin G. Mintz, D-2nd, for their efforts to bring the project to life. Mr. Hayden included money for the project in the budget proposal released April 15. Mr. Mintz has kept the pressure on for the renovations.

The county's share will pay for landscaping, bus shelters and improving public areas such as sidewalks.

Lighting and access also will be improved, Mr. Wasserman said. Honolulu will provide money to renovate the buildings and the signs.

Woodmoor includes a Super Pride supermarket and about a dozen small shops, including a restaurant, a carryout, a gift shop and an insurance office.

The smaller Liberty Crest has a music store, bakery, a pizza carryout and an antiques shop.

Business owners at Woodmoor were surprised and delighted to hear the news.

"I'm happy to hear it's going to change," said Zak Trutsi, owner of the Gold Trading Center. "We were promised renovation when we moved in two years ago, and I had about given up hope."

Kyoon Soek, owner of Beauty Land, which sells cosmetics, toiletries and other items, said, "We've been waiting for it. It has to help our business." Mr. Soek has been in business there for about eight months.

Connie Ko, daughter of owner Soon Kang of Cosmos Plaza, said, "It will definitely help business. Other shopping centers look so nice, and this one looks so dead." Cosmos Plaza sells hats, shirts, luggage and many other items.

News of the project also came as a welcome surprise to several customers.

"The place needs a good sweeping and a coat of paint," said one. "I'm glad they're finally going to do something."

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