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Community Leaders Mulling Towson Square Impact

Discussions have started to determine how to manage crowds in the area.

Towson Square isn't set to open until 2014, but community leaders are already anticipating the crowds the retail center is expected to attract.

Councilman David Marks said he's currently in talks with county traffic engineers about accommodating the additional traffic the center will bring to the area, and police officials about increased security.

"These are ongoing discussions," Marks said.

Towson Square, an $85 million project that is being developed as a partnership between commercial real estate developers Cordish Cos. and Heritage Properties, will include a movie theater, restaurants and an 862-space Baltimore County Revenue Authority garage. Construction for the center began in recent months. 

The developers did not return multiple calls for comment on how they're planning to deal with the crowds internally.

Marks also noted that the center underscored the importance of turning downtown Towson into business improvement district, an idea he first floated in June 2011. A county council resolution would need to be passed for the designation to become official.

If a resolution does go through, business owners in the area may be required to pay additional fees for services such as security, street cleaning and events. Marks cited Rockville and Bethesda as models.

"Ultimately, I think this is the direction [the area] needs to move in," he said.

Nancy Hafford, executive director of the Towson Chamber of Commerce, said she's interested in hearing more information about the proposed district, but is concerned about the economic impact to local business owners.

"With this economy, some business owners are struggling to stay open and to put a monkey on their back and ask them to pay for something else may be too much," she said.

Despite violence erupting among crowds outside Recher Theatre late-September, Hafford isn't too concerned that a similar incident will occur with the opening of Towson Square.

"We've got to make sure the ducks are in line," she said. "But I think it'll be a great addition to the business community."

David Kosak, president of the Greater Towson Council of Community Associations, is similarly cautiously optimistic about the retail center. He said the council's primary concern is managing traffic flow in the area. 

"Recher was an isolated incident, an unexpected fluke," he said. "But it did show that we need to have the proper resources in place. We need to take a proactive approach not a reactive one."

Lisa Minick October 16, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Please consider some of the towns in New Jersey for urban development (not the cities). My friends who live in Scotch Plains have towns near them that have wonderful shops, ice cream places, restaurants, toy stores... all on the street. They are crowded at night with on-street parking (not underground) and safe and fun to walk around. Oh, by the way, I didn't see any movie theaters. I agree with some of the others who have posted. I understand movie theaters draw people, but so does upscale shopping/eating. Can we please stop treating Towson like a college town. Remember it is the county hub, and there are many attorneys and other professionals who will stay late and eat and shop there if the atmosphere is right.
Tom Kiefaber October 16, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Go community leaders! Deal with the Towson traffic & pedestrian pattern issues now, because your not gonna believe what a people-magnet, mecca this new top-o-the-line, Cinemark, high-tech, 16-screen luxury-plex will become in Towson, from the moment they swing open the doors. What's coming is an extraordinary, film-exhibition phenomenon, a cutting-edge Cinemark luxury-plex, well-established nationwide as regional *category killers* , just like "The Eqyptian" quickly became years ago in Arundel Mills, which Cinemark Theatres now owns and operates as well. Cinemark's *Tinsletown* level locations offer a lot more than a state-of-the-art, first-run slate of general audience and art-specialty feature films on curved 40' screens. The new location will also offer cultural alternative entertainment to the community including The Met Opera simulcasts, & cool new interactive digital technologies now emerging in the Cinemark Tinsletown- branded locations nationwide. The long awaited Cordish Co. development will be first-class all the way. & fill a niche that Towson has sorely lacked for over a decade. Any recalcitrant community leaders left need to stop bitching & start planning for a tsunami influx of leisure spending commerce that's on the way. The project is underway & *magical thinking* will not prevent an influx of citizens seeking to enjoy the new regional anchor-plex location, & numerous area amenities at which to spend their entertainment dollars in, Towson, MD.
M. Sullivan October 16, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Absolutely right, DC. Anytime we want to go to a real theater or concert event it means driving to the dangerous pit of Baltimore City. Even a decent dinner theater is sorely missing around here, you need to go to PA for that (Tobey's is small and cramped). What make anyone with the slightest bit of intelligence think that this project won't end up like Towson Commons, or worse?
M. Sullivan October 16, 2012 at 07:30 PM
Ah, spoken by a true expert in movie theater success!
Tom Kiefaber October 16, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Ms. Sullivan, In response to your terribly snarky attempted insult that lends nothing civil to the discussion, I am in fact a multi-award winning expert in movie theatre success, having been given the prestigious National Business Leader of The Year Award for my career achievements in that regard by The National Trust for Historic Preservation. I have also been honored for my industry knowledge and 35 year career milestones by The National Association of Theatre Owners and ShoWest!
Baltiluv October 17, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Tom, Your "multi-award winning" business model seemed to be to keep open the Senator by piling up a mountain of debt, then guilting others into saving you when the mortgages caught up with you. You never implemented the multi-screen proposals you dallied around with -- proposals not that different from the plans you now ridicule. Moreover, you left the Senator in dismal shape. This despite years of corporate welfare from the city, private foundations, and finally the pockets of private citizens you guilted into contributing at the end. Now you seem determined to have the Senator to fail as a first-run theatre, and have spent the past few years driven by vengeance. Have you even tried looking for a new job or start in the past few years? Maybe the Towson multiplex you now adore will hire your expertise for the refreshment stand.
Tom Kiefaber October 17, 2012 at 02:01 AM
It seems as is the alias trolls are something you catch for a variety of reason online, and they are now infecting the post forum about something taking place in Towson, Baltimore County, that was not personal, or about me. Efforts to take things spiraling down in that direction will stop once I depart the scene. Sorry to have these folks on my case to this degree. They may taunt some more, but generally they lose interest in the discussion quickly once i go. There's no basis for it, but they showed up one day on my case, and now there heeere. Buh Bye. :-)
Baltiluv October 17, 2012 at 04:34 AM
The old Tom Kiefaber brew of passive-aggressiveness, topped with self-delusion. Sure, Tom's over-the-top hyping of a suburban multiplex theater has NOTHING to do with his vendetta against the new Senator. (Notice he's also the only poster on here enthusiastic about a project in Towson). Just like his decision to illegally dump garbage at the Senator among all the garbage bins in the city had NOTHING to do with his desire to harass them. For the sake of everyone, get some counseling, man.
M. Sullivan October 17, 2012 at 12:57 PM
Gee, was it obvious?
Needaname October 19, 2012 at 12:17 PM
Depends on what the dress code mandates are. I thought the pants below the hiney cheeks would have been gone by now. That is one fashion statement that needs to go. Additionally, if you have any teenagers, you too would not consider a dress code a bad thing.
Needaname October 19, 2012 at 12:21 PM
We where at White Marsh Mall and the Avenue one weekend night and it was not bad at all. In fact, because The Avenue seemed tame we thought The Mall would be safe. There where teenagers there, but none where barely dressed and the kids we saw where not loud or walking in mobs or pushing each other, or making-out in public, ect.
Needaname October 19, 2012 at 12:22 PM
NOW I think I realized WHY Towson Commons failed. That parking garage on Pennsylvania Ave is a nightmare to escape from.
Tom Kiefaber October 19, 2012 at 08:35 PM
The Towson patch forum displays a disturbing level of barely contained racism, and armchair developer second-guessing, over a project anchored by a luxury-plex, planned for over an decade and now under construction. So many bigoted opinions, so little insight and analysis beyond personal prejudices and bitter axe grinding. It's no wonder Towson has languished and ossified for so long it's formed a commercial crust of FAIL. Perhaps there were just too many clueless pontificators raising their voices in fear and ignorance thinking it's 1972 as they scheme to keep *those* people down the road and away from Towson, MD.
Bart October 19, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Pretty much, Tom, pretty much.
Steve October 19, 2012 at 08:57 PM
I think Cordish's development in Louisville is kind of iffy. http://insiderlouisville.com/news/2011/10/13/is-cordish-reaching-out-to-louisville-independents-restaurateurs-to-fill-red-star-space-at-fourth-street-live/
Balt Observer October 21, 2012 at 01:14 AM
Hey Kiefibber - how is irrelevance and obscurity treating you?
Bill Smith October 23, 2012 at 12:01 PM
I have no doubt that the development will be done 1st class. What I'm concerned about is what will happen 12 months post grand opening and beyond. No matter how 1st class the restaurants and movie theatre are, after patrons experience a few times of missing dinner reservations and movie show times due to lack of sufficient parking, they will just take their entertainment dollars back out to the suburbs 15 minutes to the north, east or west where there exists an abundance of free parking. What do developers do? They develop. Their biggest concerns are to build enthusiasm for the concept in order to get the zoning approved, financing lined up and initial leases signed. What happens beyond that are not in the scope of their project, nor of their concern.
Tom Kiefaber October 23, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Bill, Despite what the troll posters claim, my enthusiasm for the new plex has nothing to do with a ""vendetta against The Senator"? as I have deep concerns about that troubled project at the long shuttered historic landmark. My enthusiasm for the Towson project is based on my knowledge of the entertainment complex the developers secured for Maryland with the latest Cinemark *Tinsletown* level prototype, which most movie theatre patrons today have never experienced. While I appreciate and love the ambiance of historic cinemas, this new location will be something else altogether. Cinemark does not just incorporate the latest emerging technology, they develop it as well and the location will become a regional point of destination for entertainment choices well beyond what will be available elsewhere. In light of Cinemark's stellar national reputation for technological innovation and deepening their appeal to a wide demographic with a varied slate of *alternative* programming like the Met Opera simulcasts, satellite live concert hookups and live performances as well, the location will maintain a strong appeal and patronage in a wide variety of ways that are not yet well understood by the public.
Tom Kiefaber October 23, 2012 at 04:58 PM
DCMercle, The Towson (Recher) Theatre has had a good run with its youthful, increasingly rowdy patrons, the brothers are getting older and that waning stressful game gets older too along with the owners. Perhaps someone should approach those guys to see where they are in the big picture. You're right on the mark about the niche need for such a sit down, cultural entertainment amenity in Towson.
Jilly October 23, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Tom, If you feel so enthusiastic about this suburban competitor with The Senator, perhaps you should apply for a job at the popcorn stand? I don't know if they take people with criminal records, so you better hurry before your trial in November. http://www.centurytheatres.com/century-theatres-employment It'd help you to move on, and give you something to do other than indulge in misogyny: Luke Broadwater ‏@lukebroadwater Kiefaber refuses to talk to media because Melody Simmons, whom he derides as a "housewife" is here
Tom Kiefaber October 23, 2012 at 05:24 PM
Ms. McSweeney, Your assessment sounds reminiscent of the dynamic tension between the original *downtown* Baltimore and the evolving adjacent Harbor East developments. That was a natural evolution in response to the ossified, old boy BDC agenda. The center of Towson commercial dynamism does seem to be shifting incrementally north, and has been for some time. Why?
Tom Kiefaber October 23, 2012 at 05:36 PM
Yada yada "Jilly". Sorry folks, the rabid TK trolls have tracked me here. I've stopped refuting the smears and personal attacks, as truth and accuracy are decidedly not their goals, and addressing the always anonymous haters only serves to pump more green bile into the forum, driving away the normals from civil online discussion.
Balt Observer October 23, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Keep trying to drive a stake through the heart of the Senator, Kiefibber. Just keep in mind, we won't let you. "If I can't have her, nobody will!"
DCMerkle October 23, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Tom, I don't see the Recher as having "...had a good run...". In the last 5-10 years I know that the owners have invested in their business and continue to do so even now. I think that if Towson would consider what the possibility of a Center for the Arts and Music would provide and the possibility of drawing in a mature crowd, it would help the already existing merchants and business owners increase the visitors into Towson that Towson has ultimately been trying to do. Right now there is a fairly equal mix of restaurants and bars that cater to the youthful, up and coming crowd as well as the more established, mature crowd, family oriented crowd. Rechers provides the music for the younger crowd. What's missing is the music venue for the older crowd.
Tom Kiefaber October 23, 2012 at 07:39 PM
Balt Observer: Your quotes are false and misleading, but then that's your MO. What you will come to better understand about The Senator project as things evolve, is that your darlings are doing an horrific job of driving a stake of willful ignorance through the heart of The Senator. Now run along, please, the grownups are talking on another subject.
Jilly October 23, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Tom, in case you hadn't noticed, no one takes your rants seriously anymore now that you've revealed yourself to be a narcissitic, misogynistic, vindictive arse. The jig is up. Get a life. We plan on happily enjoying the Senator.
Balt Observer October 23, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Still with your sour grapes over the success that the Cusacks are now having that you never came close to, eh Kiefaber? It must be a bitter pill to swallow. So bitter to drive a sour man to attempt to wreck his family's legacy. As with everything you undertake, though, you will fail Kiefaber.
Tom Kiefaber October 23, 2012 at 09:52 PM
DCMercle, Re: The Rechers I respect them and all that they have invested and achieved at the former Towson Theatre. The youth entertainment market & regional point of destination venues have changed, however, as evidenced by the some recent difficulties that have cropped up. They may be planning to press full-stream ahead, and if they are, more power to them. What I note, however is that there is no sit-down facility that you envision, and I agree there's a market for it. It's the direction we're were attempting to take The Senator through the community based, non-profit approach when the BDC instead decided they didn't like the *multi-cultural*, multipurpose film and live music performance venue direction we were heading. As we were once headed in an enhanced, expanded programming direction at The Senator that wasn't well known, so may the Rechers, & you won't know till you ask. There are patterns of uses of historic theatres that turn a corner, particularly when a youth-oriented policy becomes more and more challenging as the owners are aging. The theatre facility is there with well done adjacent improvements that could well be converted to the sit down, entertainment amenity for grownups you cite. It would require a full scale refurbishment etc., which may only be cost effective with a non-profit status of some sort. The Recher's may be ready to sell or long-term lease to a non-profit entity which could raise the funds required to fit it out for its next incarnation.
Jilly October 24, 2012 at 11:11 PM
blah blah blah...The Senator...blah blah blah...ME Tom . . . blah blah blah...The Senator ..... Folks, pay no attention to the babbling loony tune taking over your discussions. He drove a movie theatre into the ground, ran a delusional campaign for city council, and will soon likely be a convicted criminal after his trial in November.
Lisa Mathias January 16, 2013 at 04:24 PM
Where is this suburban flight to Hunt Valley that you are talking about? The inventory of properties for sale in the Towson neighborhood is the lowest in 17 years. Our schools are overcrowded. People are not fleeing the area. In fact the demand is still quite high.

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