Carrolltown Center plans renovations 2-year project includes redesign, restaurant and 11 movie screens

March 03, 1998|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,SUN STAFF

Carrolltown Center announced plans yesterday for a two-year renovation that would bring a new restaurant, a redesigned layout, and an 11-theater movie complex to the fastest growing and most populous part of Carroll County.

Plans for the multimillion dollar renovation have been in the works for two years, said Dixon Harvey, president of Black Rock Associates, developer and owner of the 340,000-square-foot enclosed shopping center on Liberty Road in Eldersburg.

But he acknowledged that a proposal for a $30 million shopping center with restaurants and 14-screen theater complex about a mile away from Carrolltown helped the process along.

"Competition is not a bad thing," said Harvey. "It's been good for getting us moving."

But his mall and the 32-acre Promenade at Eldersburg proposed for Route 32 and Londontown Boulevard are different, Harvey said.

"From what I read in the papers, they are planning a major cinema complex and three anchors to appeal to a much broader [clientele] -- people who live well beyond South Carroll," Harvey said. "We've always had a neighborhood, community theater. Our focus is to continue to serve the existing community in South Carroll."

The theaters and the restaurant are the first phase of a project to revitalize the Eldersburg center. They could be open by this time next year, Harvey said.

"I see them as the catalyst that is going to move Carrolltown into the next century," he said.

If things go as Harvey hopes, Carrolltown Center will undergo "some fairly dramatic changes" in the next two years, "replacing some uses, opening up others."

The goal, Harvey said, is to meet the needs of customers and merchants by offering not only services and merchandise but "shopping pleasurability." That means providing a mall that is "more fun and a nice place where our merchants can continue to be successful," he said.

"I hope to get something under way in the fall," Harvey said. Construction could take 12 to 18 months.

Meanwhile, more than 500 South Carroll residents have signed a petition opposing The Promenade Center project, which must be approved as a conditional use by the county Board of Zoning Appeals. The board has held one hearing on the project and has scheduled another for Friday.

Carrolltown, which has been established for more than 20 years, is unlikely to have difficulty winning approval for the renovation from the community or the county bureaucracy, Harvey said.

He said he has been through the process five times and is "comfortable with it."

"Planned business center zoning allows you to bring multiple different uses" to a project, he said. "We have a history of uses in synergy with the community. This is the next step in the evolution of Carrolltown.

"We have a great group of neighborhood associations, and we'll be working with our neighbors and the [county] planning staff" to get the project approved and built as quickly as possible.

Pub Date: 3/03/98

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