This is what a Royal Farms store could look like at a site in Towson on property currently owned by Baltimore County. (Courtesy of CVP-TF LLC)
TOWSON, Md. - A shopping center in Dundalk, expanded parking for a nursing home in Randallstown and a Royal Farms gas station in Towson could soon be in the works after Baltimore County officials selected specific proposals as part of its plan to sell off county-owned property.
The announcement comes after a nearly year-long process by the county to solicit bids for the sale of three “functionally obsolete properties:” the North Point Government Center building in Dundalk, the fire station 2 building in Towson, and the police substation in Randallstown. The buildings, constructed 50 to 60 years ago, are all in need of repair and replacement.
"The county is faced with the need to replace three aging facilities,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz in a statement. “The old way was for the county to borrow money – taxpayer dollars – and rebuild the facilities, taking on additional debt.
"Our County Government must do business differently during these tough economic times. The old models simply will not work if you are committed to investing in public education, public safety and rebuilding an aging infrastructure while keeping tax rates stable.”
The idea behind the sales is to generate new property tax revenue for the county in addition to providing jobs and economic stimulus. Remaining profits could be utilized for needed school upgrades for nearby communities, including air conditioning.
The next step in the process is for the proposals to go in front of the County Council. A vote on the proposals is set for Nov. 18.
"The Council will carefully review each offer as we move forward with due diligence during this comprehensive process," said Council Chair Tom Quirk in a statement.
Vanguard Commercial Development received the nod to redevelop the Dundalk site. The Baltimore-based company bid slightly more than $2.1 million for 15 acres of the 27-acre site. Its plans include to retain and upgrade the ball fields and build a 21,000-square-foot recreation center on the site which they hope to develop into a “retail town center.”
"This is another step forward in Baltimore County's effort to be innovative, responsible and efficient in government," Kamenetz said. "Baltimore County has a long history of protecting the integrity of the procurement process, and the due diligence that this committee took in reaching its recommendations continues that tradition."
However, not everyone agrees with that assessment. A group called Dundalk United, formed to oppose the sale, said the county showed a total lack of transparency in this process. In addition, the group opposed selling a public park and recreation facilities for private commercial redevelopment.
“North Point Government Center Park is a treasured place, carefully preserved for our children and grandchildren,” the group said. “It connects and binds generations to the Dundalk area. The loss of any part of this popular site will have a negative impact on the surrounding area.
“Property values will decrease, and there will be less open green space in the Eastfield-Stanbrook rowhome community. The total lack of transparency displayed by Mr. Kamenetz and others involved with this issue is most troubling. Respect for our basic democratic principles has been cast aside by the current administration.
Among the other properties, CVP-TF LLC bid $8.3 million for the firehouse property in Towson. Its proposal includes a Royal Farms convenience store/gas station, along with 10,000 square feet of retail space and a 4,200-square-foot space for a restaurant, bank or other free-standing use.
A wholly-owned subsidiary of Genesis HealthCare bid $275,000 for the Randallstown property, which is adjacent to a skilled nursing center owned by Genesis. The company plans to raze the police substation to make way for more parking at the center.
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