Howard Park eagerly awaits a new grocery store, which residents predict will bring in more business and make life a little easier.

Neighborhood anchors hopes on supermarket

August 12, 2005|By Tyrone Richardson | Tyrone Richardson,SUN STAFF

John Parker, the manager of a Howard Park hardware store, remembers the days when he walked to the nearby Super Pride to grab a few items for lunch.

"I used to love to get something from that supermarket, bring it back here and cook it," Parker recalled.

The Super Pride store closed five years ago, creating a major inconvenience for Parker and others in the Northwest Baltimore neighborhood. With the loss of their only supermarket, Howard Park residents must drive miles to grocery stores in other communities.

But it looks like change is on the way. Yesterday, the Baltimore Development Corp. announced that it is considering proposals from two developers who want to build a new supermarket on the site in the 4600 block of Liberty Heights Ave.

One developer, KRC Acquisition Inc., has proposed a 50,000-square- foot full-service grocery store with a pharmacy and 113 parking spaces.

The other developer, Vanguard Equities Inc. and ROC Inc., has proposed a 53,625-square-foot full-service grocery store with a pharmacy, a 12,000-square-foot retail space and about 280 parking spaces.

Howard Park is a middle-class neighborhood with large single-family houses and a golf course. Parker and other merchants said the supermarket would be a good anchor for the neighborhood and a lure for more business.

"That would be really good for us," Parker said. "Placing a supermarket there would increase foot traffic there, people will know that we are here."

The supermarket has been a demand of the community for years, said 5th District Councilwoman Rochelle "Rikki" Spector.

"It's been a problem in the area because there is no food store for that tremendous amount of population," she said. "Today, supermarkets are a one-stop area now - for a bank, pharmacy and dry cleaners."

She added: "A major store will stabilize the community, and it will bring in more important retail business as well."

Howard Park resident Jennifer Smith, 39, said she has to catch the bus to do her food shopping.

"It's a hassle to get back on the bus with all that stuff," Smith said.

The BDC is reviewing the proposals and a decision is expected by the end of the year, said Andy Frank, BDC vice president.

In May, the BDC issued requests for proposals to develop the old Super Pride market site, in the Howard Park Business Urban Renewal area. Because the site is in the urban renewal area, Frank said the site could be acquired by eminent domain.

Yesterday afternoon, barbers and customers at Williams Executive Cutz, a shop a block from the proposed new market, said it would be a positive step in building the neighborhood.

Roger Hawkins, 32, one of the barbers, said a new supermarket would provide an alternative to the high prices charged by neighborhood convenience stores.

"We need more businesses here to establish the area for the seniors and children," he said.

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