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Poll Funded By Mall Developers Shows Voters Oppose Foundry Row

A poll conducted by Annapolis-based Opinion Works shows that area residents have concerns about the development process, the economy, taxpayer burden and would like Foundry Row stopped or delayed.

A poll funded by developers who are opposed to shows that those surveyed have serious concerns about the development proposed for the Solo Cup plant site and would like to see it stopped or delayed.

The Baltimore County Council votes whether to rezone the Solo property on Tuesday, Aug. 28.

Those polled on behalf of "the Owings Mills Team" indicated developers have too much power over development decisions, there should be more public review of the project, the mall should be developed first, and the local economy and infrastructure cannot handle the project along with other Owings Mills developments.

“A total of 62 percent said they oppose the project or think it should be delayed, 21 percent preferred that Foundry Row not be built at all and 36 percent thought it should be postponed until after the site is redeveloped,” said a memo distributed by Kearney O’Doherty (KO) Public Affairs. Five percent of those polled said they might support the project after a public review process.

The Owings Mills Mall team includes Kimco and General Growth Properties, and other businesses and developers with interests in the area, according to Howard Libit of KO. The memo summarizing the results was addressed to KO, the company handling public relations for Kimco and the Owings Mills Mall redevelopment project.

KO said the poll surveyed 1,105 registered voters who live in Baltimore County Districts 2 and 4 in May. KO released the memo last week.

Ken Oliver, councilman for District 4, which includes the Metro Centre at Owings Mills and Owings Mills Mall, said he wants more review of the project before Solo Cup gets rezoned for retail. Vicki Almond, councilwoman for District 2, which includes the Solo Cup plant, said she believes all three projects can happen together in Owings Mills.

The memo to KO said, “The decision to rezone the Solo Cup site to allow retail developer (should) be more of a public process involving citizens and stakeholders to address concerns.”

Both and have held public hearings on rezoning issues in recent months, where members of the public could speak for two minutes on issues that concern them.

The majority of those responding to the Owings Mills Mall Team poll listed taxpayer impact of Foundry Row as their main concern after being told that it will take $50 million tax dollars for transportation improvements. Foundry Row developer Greenberg Gibbons has pledged , and produced a traffic study summary saying that the road improvements would adequately manage traffic issues.

The survey also cited environmental concerns and a preference for transit-oriented development among other voter issues, but those were not at the top of the list.

“Other issues are important…but such issues fall behind the leading ideas mentioned above: Lack of a public process, the limitations of the economy, more appropriate positioning for retail at Owings Mills Mall, traffic impacts along Reisterstown Road and concern for tax burden,” the memo to KO said.

BluePeace August 17, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Hey, Jake...I have an idea - why don't you write for a local paper or a blog? Perhaps you already do so. Stop being so critical of Marc - he is a damn good journalist and has been very fair in his reporting.
BluePeace August 17, 2012 at 08:44 PM
Greenberg/Gibbons should not be held accountable for the mall's inability to redevelop. I say "Go, go, go...Foundry Row...bring on Wegman's....screw Kimco!"
BluePeace August 17, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Nancy, very well stated points. If anyone know of Fredericksburg, Va., you will understand what's happening down there. Yes, some stores have closed due to an over-saturation of retail, but....that market is thriving and it's of similar size of N.W. Baltimore County. The town has a Wegman's, two Super Walmarts, an enclosed Mall, a very large town center with a plethora of shops, restaurants and services. All of the businesses seem to be thriving, except for a few who were able to survive. I think Foundry Row will not hurt the existing businesses along Reisterstown Road, because as Nancy said, people have the freedom to choose and the more of a selection, the more people will spread the dollar.
Maryland August 17, 2012 at 10:00 PM
It is nothing short of hilarious that Greenberg Gibbons is being painted as the goliath in this scenario, as they are a local company going up against 2 of the 3 largest commercial real estate firms in the country. And they did give it a shot at the mall 7 years ago, when they tried to make a deal with Wegmans! Stop gobbling up everything Kimco dishes out.
exd August 21, 2012 at 07:49 PM
If the arrival of Wegmans forces out one or more of the existing supermarkets - it will be their own fault for not providing the types of goods and services the public is looking for. If they wanted to keep their customers, they would have been already providing the things that Wegmans offers, and there wouldn't be a such a rousing chorus of calls for a Wegmans in the neighborhood. If you want to stay in business - make catering to your customers needs and wants your business.

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