Rouse weighs several options to replace closed Valu Food store in Long Reach

February 14, 1996|By Alisa Samuels | Alisa Samuels,SUN STAFF

Because of an editing error, a headline in yesterday's Howard County edition of The Sun misidentified the Columbia village center in which the Rouse Co. is seeking a new grocery store to replace a former Valu Food store. The correct site is the Harper's Choice Village Center.

The Sun regrets the error.

Seeking to resuscitate the deteriorating Harper's Choice Village Center, the Rouse Co. is considering plans to tear down the site of the center's former anchor supermarket, Valu Food, and build a much larger grocery store.

"We're looking at a lot of options," said Gerald Brock, a vice president for the Rouse Co. and senior development director. Possibilities include finding a replacement for the vacant 28,000-square-foot supermarket, renovating the site or tearing down the structure to make room for a new 45,000- to 55,000-square-foot supermarket.


Rouse representatives will return to the Harper's Choice Village Board on March 19 to update members about their plans.

Last week, Rouse Co. representatives told the board about plans to revitalize the center, which opened in 1971 in West Columbia. The center suffered a major blow in December when its 10-year anchor, Valu Food, closed, Mr. Brock said.

Securing a grocery store anchor is a key to revitalizing the center, which over the past few years has lost a High's Dairy store, a Little Caesar's Pizza shop and a Subway sandwich shop.

The Rouse Co. is talking to several grocers about a long-term deal at the center, but Mr. Brock declined to give names until there is a firm commitment.

Residents have criticized the center as being unattractive, unsafe and obsolete. The facility has had a high turnover rate and several long-term vacancies.

But the center recently has shown signs of a comeback by attracting a Papa John's Pizza and Dunkin' Donuts.

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