Business center project aims for spring splash $14 million venture will redevelop last urban renewal property

February 26, 1997|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,SUN STAFF

Over the next few months, expect a dramatic overhaul of Glen Burnie's central business district, with the filling in of some vacant storefronts, the remodeling of others and the scheduled groundbreaking for the much-publicized town center.

Construction on the last undeveloped 5.6-acre parcel in the urban renewal district is to begin this spring. Two Baltimore development groups have put together a $14 million joint venture.

The town center project will include 54 apartments in a Crain Highway building that will have gated parking and a landscaped terrace.

The project will have 70,000 square feet of commercial space, including 54,000 square feet for a grocery store, a bank, a pharmacy and specialty shops. Developers hope to complete negotiations soon with three prospective commercial tenants.

"We expect that by the end of this week or early next week, we will have some of those agreements in place and signed," said Patricia A. Barland, the county's urban renewal manager.

Smaller changes will precede the groundbreaking.

"I expect to be fully occupied in 30 days," said Walton D. Wilson, owner of Frankie Wilson and Sons, a real estate development company that operates out of a building it owns in the 7400 block of Baltimore-Annapolis Blvd.

A ceramics shop is moving into the big storefront of the Wilson Building, which has been deserted since an antiques shop closed a few months ago. A lawyer and land planner also will be renting offices in the building, the Wilsons said.

Adjacent to the Wilson Building, in a row of red-brick buildings, Mom's Bakery has been closed for a year. Windows of the building are covered with colored paper.

Barland said that Harry Pappas, the owner of Maryland Bedrooms, a water-bed gallery at Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard BTC and Crain Highway, has expressed interest in the property.

His nephew, lawyer Steven A. Thomas, is meeting with county officials today to talk about the bakery space and about developing a small plot of vacant land Pappas owns next to his water-bed business.

Another vacancy, a house at Crain Highway and Georgia Avenue that has been empty about 15 years, also may be filled soon.

John Cook, owner of Cook Financial Services, is completing the county's permit process and plans to move his business into the house, which he bought last year. He plans to rent out the second floor.

Meanwhile, Barland said, the county intends to demolish houses it has acquired on Greenway Avenue to make way for more downtown parking.

Until the parking lot is completed, Vic Baklayan, who with his brother owns the Tennis Shoe Warehouse, a discount outlet store in the 7400 block of Baltimore-Annapolis Blvd., keeps a sign in his window directing customers to parking.

The Baklayans opened their store two months ago in space left vacant by a furniture store that closed.

Residents have complained about the store's appearance and about the shoe price ads in the window.

Joseph Corcoran, president of the Glen Burnie Improvement Association, said residents think it detracts from the appearance of their community.

The Baklayans said they were working on improvements.

"I know we have that nice big project [coming], and we want our store to look nice, too," Vic Baklayan said.

Pub Date: 2/26/97

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