Balto. Co. to sell land on York Rd. 12-acre Texas site used by public works could fetch $8 million

'Institutional use' favored

Officials expect sale to serve as development engine

September 27, 1997|By LIZ ATWOOD

Opening a prime commercial site for development, Baltimore County is preparing to sell 12 acres of surplus property along one of the county's busiest corridors.

The county hopes that the Texas property at 9929 York Road, which has been used by the county's Public Works Department for years, will attract new offices -- and generate as much as $8 million for the county.

The land, surrounded by stores and office buildings, is too precious for storage sheds, County Economic Director Robert L. Hannon said yesterday. "The highway facilities could be any place. They don't need to be in Cockeysville on York Road."

The county plans to move the public works operations from the site this year. A request for development proposals will be issued as soon as an environmental study is complete, Hannon said.

That assessment will probably take two more weeks, said Ian J. Forrest of the county's Department of Environmental Protection and Resource Management.

Baltimore County has owned the land since 1945, using the site for various purposes, including road maintenance, sign painting and the storm headquarters for snow plowing operations.

A county utilities facility is moving from the site to Hunt Valley, and the road operations will be moved behind the Texas fire station and to Towson, county spokesman Michael H. Davis said. The land will be sold as is, leaving it to a developer to remove the sheds and buildings.

Over the years, shopping centers and office buildings, including the Yorktowne Plaza and Church Lane Shopping Center, have grown up around the property.

Hannon said the sale of the commercially zoned property should garner between $5 million and $8 million for the county. More important, the sale of the surplus land presents an opportunity for economic development, he said.

"I'd like to think there would be an institutional use there," Hannon said.

Given the vast number of retail businesses already on York Road, the county will be looking for a medical office, financial group or nonprofit organization that can develop the entire parcel, he said.

But Tom Maddux, a principal with KLNB real estate, said the land will be most desired for its retail potential. "In the eye of retailers, York Road has value."

Once the development proposals are received, a review panel will select a winner.

Development of the site is one of the Department of Economic Development's priorities for the coming year.

The department also is working to identify and encourage development of brownfield -- former industrial land that may have environmental problems -- sites, to redevelop the Riverdale apartment complex in Middle River and to create a business park in the Northpoint Enterprise Zone on 125 acres at the end of Kelso Drive.

Pub Date: 9/27/97

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