Towson mall expansion is proposed

Bigger housewares store, up to 3 new restaurants are in plans submitted to county officials


Towson Town Center would be expanded to include a large housewares store and up to three new restaurants, all with a "Main Street"-style facade, under a proposal submitted to Baltimore County officials and presented last week to community leaders.

The mall would have a new "atrium-style" glass entrance on the west side, facing Dulaney Valley Road, and new shops and eating establishments with their own entrances would be built on what is now a parking lot and the site of a gas station.

A county government panel is to decide tomorrow whether the expansion and renovation should be considered a "refinement" to the already-approved development plan at the mall or whether the plan will have to go through a separate review process.

Plans call for adding 113,500 square feet to the 1.2 million-square-foot enclosed mall to make room for an expanded Crate and Barrel store, with its own entrance facing Dulaney Valley Road. The mall, which has about 4,000 parking spaces, would add about 330 parking spaces as part of the renovation and expansion, according to its plan.

The gas station on the mall property would be torn down, and the existing street-level parking in the lot at the edge of Fairmount Avenue and Dulaney Valley Road would be removed, under the preliminary plan.

Charles Crerand, the general manager of Towson Town Center, said it was "too early" to discuss the plans further. "It's all very conceptual right now," he said.

Community leaders got their first peek at the mall's proposal during the Greater Towson Council of Community Associations meeting.

Dick Parsons, a West Towson community activist, said members of the umbrella organization would likely be watching the project closely as more details are unveiled, because traffic and parking are important issues in the area.

The drawings presented at the community meeting showed an exterior design that has become popular at outdoor shopping centers built to resemble old-fashioned Main Streets, such as The Avenue at White Marsh. Hunt Valley Towne Centre opened this year as a outdoor center after tearing down the enclosed mall.

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