New look set for Towson Marketplace Residents express relief movie theater multiplex isn't part of latest plan

April 10, 1996|By Suzanne Loudermilk | Suzanne Loudermilk,SUN STAFF

Towson Marketplace is about to get a new identity with new stores, a new exterior and even a new name.

Yesterday, developer James A. Schlesinger of Florida-based Talisman/Towson Limited Partnership released a $20 million plan for Towson Place, a center of mega stores that will break ground in about 90 days.

The plan was revealed months after he was forced to revise his original proposal for an upscale theater-restaurant-retail complex, which neighbors vehemently opposed because of the movies. The latest plan does not require county approval.

"Life goes on. It was time to get on with development," said Mr. Schlesinger, who has been involved in real estate renovations for 20 years, including a face lift for Westview Mall near Catonsville six years ago.

The new plan is meeting with initial approval from the community, including Loch Raven Village resident Mike Sarkin, who headed Citizens Against Marketplace Movies, the grass-roots group that fought the movie multiplex.

"If the traffic projections are accurate, we will be pleased," he said, referring to studies that concluded area roads could handle increased traffic.

Improvements also call for a circular road surrounding the center, to provide easier traffic dispersal from the 3,100-space parking lot.

"I feel better," said longtime Knettishall resident Leon Rozankowski, who also objected to the theaters. "The stores will close at a decent time. It won't be as disruptive to the neighborhood."

In its reincarnation, the former mall sandwiched between Joppa Road and Putty Hall Avenue will include a 40,000-square-foot Bed, Bath & Beyond, a linen and home accessory store; a 20,500-square-foot Michael's, one of the nation's largest arts and crafts chains; and a 43,000-square-foot Sports Authority.

"It will be the most powerful power center in Baltimore County," predicted Mr. Schlesinger, 47, who is hoping to capitalize on its proximity to the popular Towson Town Center mall.

Three other large stores, yet to be named, will be part of the 675,000-square-foot project, the developer said.

But he would not disclose the name of the largest retailer -- a one-level, 120,000-square-foot discount department store. Fronting Putty Hill Avenue, it will fill an area large enough for two football fields with such merchandise as toys, apparel and household goods.

A second floor with an entrance facing Joppa Road will be above that store. It will be the site of a possible health spa or entertainment area and shops. Mr. Schlesinger also expects to have two restaurants with liquor licenses. Another restaurant is expected to be built apart from the center, near Putty Hill Avenue.

The existing anchors -- Montgomery Ward, Best Products, Toys R Us and Marshall's -- will remain, but Herman's World of Sports, the Eudowood post office and Martin's Eudowood, a catering business, are said to be leaving the 43-acre site that originally was called Eudowood Plaza.

With the redesign, Best Products will lose its unusual, skewed facade to match the new Georgian exterior of brick, fieldstone and stucco. The renovation will take about a year to complete, Mr. Schlesinger said.

Pub Date: 4/10/96

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