Owen Brown board OKs plan to construct a Giant grocery store

Existing supermarket to be converted to shops

March 03, 2000|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,SUN STAFF

Owen Brown village officials have approved a plan that would allow for a new Giant grocery store to be built at the village center instead of renovating and enlarging the old building, as part of a push to reinvigorate the aging village center.

"We are really excited about this," said Pearl Atkinson-Stewart, the Owen Brown Village Board's representative to the Columbia Council and vice chairwoman of the council. "This is a result of a lot of input from the public and everyone else involved."

The plan -- approved by the board after it was unveiled by Giant Food Services Realty during a Feb. 15 meeting -- calls for the new supermarket to be built next to the tennis courts, Atkinson-Stewart said. The old Giant store, which was to have been renovated, would be converted into space for shops, she said.

The new plan, which must be approved by county officials, is the latest development in the village center revitalization project.

Stephen Oseroff, vice president and operating manager of Giant Food Services Realty, said the plan is in the "concept" stage and no starting date has been set for construction.

Giant Food Services Realty officials announced tentative plans in May to renovate the shopping center and to enlarge the Giant store from about 40,000 square feet to 52,000 square feet. But dozens of parking spaces would be lost under that proposal, and Giant Food Services decided instead to build a store near the tennis courts.

If additional parking is needed, it would have to be approved by the Columbia Association, Atkinson-Stewart said.

But Oseroff said it is unlikely that more parking will be needed. The latest plan changes the configuration of the retail area so that it will be like a strip shopping center with parking in front of each business. The current layout resembles an outdoor mall with one large parking lot.

Columbia Management Inc., a subsidiary of the Rouse Co., which owns all the village centers in Columbia except Owen Brown, recently spent millions on renovations at the Harper's Choice, Long Reach and Oakland Mills centers.

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