(Update 9:42 a.m. Friday)—A Harris Teeter grocery store has been proposed for the site of the existing Towson fire station.
David Strouse, president and CEO of Birchwood Capital Partners, told members of the Greater Towson Council of Community Associations Thursday night that his Baltimore development company is pursuing plans to acquire the firehouse site at York and Bosley roads from Baltimore County to construct the store.
"We're sort of in the preliminary stages of planning," Strouse said.
An early site scheme presented to the council shows a 48,756 square feet food store with a parking surface for 163 cars and an additional parking space for 100 cars underneath the store.
"It's a smaller Wegmans concept," Strouse said.
"It really is about walkability," said Ed Kilcullen, a former GTCCA president and Towson Manor Park delegate.
Towson Park representative Carl Eltringham, whose community is near the site, said he is worried about traffic congestion, particularly between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
"It's a crazy intersection." Eltringham said.
Mike Ertel, another former president of the council who now represents the West Towson community that is also close to the site, said he was concerned about rumors circulating about a gas station or convenience store, such as Royal Farms, that would be open around the clock coming to the location. Ertel noted that he personally likes the idea of a grocery store at the site.
"It would probably be less egregious than a 24-hour gas station," he said.
Ertel also pointed out that lights from a 24-hour store would be intrusive to the Towson Park community, which lost a buffer a couple of years ago when trees were cut down near the neighborhood along Morningside Drive to accommodate a cemetery.
Councilman David Marks said Friday morning that he was reserving judgement on the project until all proposals are reviewd and the county council is approached about the sale of the land.
"I think it's the type of supermarket that would be welcome by many in Towson...I'm going to be asking very tough questions about traffic, walkability...any effects to the nearby neighborhoods," he said.
The county officially put the site up for sale, along with the North Point Government Center in Dundalk and a police substation on Liberty Road in Randallstown, in early January.
Funds raised from the property sales would go toward the construction of new county facilities and finance school improvement projects.
Towson Manor Park was initially considered for the site of a new fire station, but following community protests County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said that he plans to build the station at the corner of Bosley Avenue and Towsontown Boulevard—now the site of a fueling station for county vehicles.
The Harris Teeter supermarket chain was founded in 1960 in North Carolina, according to the company's website.