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Rotunda redevelopers to update Roland Park Civic League on plans

By Larry Perl

April 2, 2012

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Representatives for Rotunda mall redeveloper Hekemian & Co. will present their plans to the Roland Park Civic League at its next meeting April 5.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m., and the presentation at 7:15 p.m., in Roland Park Presbyterian Church, 4801Roland Ave.

Making the presentation will be Chris Bell, Hekemian's senior vice president for acquisitions and development, and local consultant Al Barry, of AB Associates.

"Questions from the community are anticipated, especially now that the Giant has now closed at the Rotunda," states an announcement of the presentation in the latest Roland Park newsletter.

Bell told a reconvened task force of community leaders Feb. 28 that Hekemian plans a scaled-back, roughly $100 million redevelopment of the Rotunda as a mixed-use complex of 300 market-rate apartments, retail, offices, several restaurants and an above-ground parking deck.

Earlier plans for a 22-story apartment tower, a hotel and underground parking have been dropped, Bell said.

In an agreement inked earlier this year, Hekemian let Giant out of its long-term lease in the Rotunda, so Giant could relocate, and Giant said Hekemian can replace the old Giant store with a smaller "boutique" grocer, so as not to compete with Giant in its new location in the Green Spring Tower Shopping Center in Hampden.

Bell cited Trader Joe's as an example of the kind of boutique grocer that he said would be "a nice fit" in the mall. But he and land use consultant Al Barry say it could be several years before a tenant is found to take over the Rotunda Giant space, because it would be unfair to have another grocer move in, only to have to shut down for several years once redevelopment begins. That upsets leaders like Baltimore City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, who says a new grocer should be found as soon as possible.