Published  Oct 15, 2015
Oct 15, 2015

By: Emily Bregel

Demolition paving the way for the Towson Row project is complete, giving developers a clean palette to start construction, the project's developer said Thursday.

Explosive engineers have begun excavating the rocky landscape on the project site at York Road and Towsontown Boulevard, making way for the $350 million mixed-use development, said Arthur Adler, a partner at Towson-based Caves Valley Partners.

Towson Row will be anchored by Baltimore County's first full-service Whole Foods, which will occupy 45,000 square feet there. The development will include 200,000 square feet of office space, 100,000 square feet of retail, a 150-room hotel and 900 student housing beds. It will also offer 375 apartments and possibly condominiums, but Caves Valley is still evaluating the strength of the condo market, Adler said.

The project will drive foot traffic and contribute to a thriving Towson business district, Adler said.

"This will be the next step to downtown Towson having a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week activity level," Adler said. Currently, "you can come on certain nights and times in Towson and there’s no activity."

Feedback on Towson Row from the local business community and residents has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic, Adler said. But some community groups have raised concerns about the lack of open space on the site, and they claim developers like Caves Valley pay too little in open space fees to the county.

Towson Row's five-acre footprint is too small to incorporate the amount of open space the county typically requires for the number of residences planned there, Adler said. Under county regulations, the developer can instead pay $55,000 in open space fees, which go toward the county's open space fund, Adler said.

In addition, Caves Valley has voluntarily contributed $200,000 to help establish turf fields at Towson High School and the Carver Center for Arts and Technology, Adler said.

Caves Valley is working on deals with sub-developers to take on the student housing and hotel components of Towson Row. The developer will wait until 2017 to secure its remaining retail tenants, Adler said.

Whole Foods won't open until 2018, and retail trends can evolve significantly in a couple of years, he said.

"Frankly, what's hot in 2015 might not be what’s hot in 2017," he said.


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