The idea is to create a high-density, urban-style area in a suburban location, Brown said.
The county should preserve the Solo Cup land for nonretail uses, Brown contends, such as a biotech park or other enterprise that would provide high-paying jobs.
Brian Gibbons, chairman and CEO of Greenberg Gibbons Commercial, which wants to redevelop the Solo Cup site, said there's room for everyone.
"They don't want competition," Gibbons said.
Wegmans, a sought-after tenant, will set the tone for Foundry Row, he said.
"The mall has been asking for Wegmans for 10 years, and Wegmans said no," he said.
Gibbons hopes he can secure zoning approval by fall. He plans to demolish the Solo Cup plant, which is to shut down completely March 31, and build a 400,000-square-foot development anchored by Wegmans. It would include several other anchors, including a fitness center, as well as small shops and restaurants. The center would feature industrial-style architecture with glass, metal and brick elements as a nod to the site's industrial history.
He said he might be seeking some of the same junior-box tenants as the mall but believes the projects would attract different types of stores.
"There is extraordinary tenant demand in the market," said Gibbons, whose firm redeveloped the once-struggling Hunt Valley Town Centre. "We have come up with a beautiful, creative project."
The company plans a traffic signal and four-lane access to alleviate traffic concerns, and to invest in improvements at Painters Mill and Reisterstown roads, he said.
For years, county leaders pushed investment in the area around the Metro station. Together, the state and county have spent $57 million on the Metro Centre project. Now, former County Executive James T. Smith Jr.'s law firm represents Greenberg Gibbons.
Western Baltimore County has long been underserved by retail, said Mark Mueller, a commercial real estate broker with the firm Sierra U.S.
He thinks there's enough demand in the area to sustain the developments.
"The good news is, in my opinion, I think they're all three distinctly different kinds of retail projects," said Mueller, though he added that the developers are likely to vie for some of the same restaurant tenants. "Should they all three come on at the same time? That may be asking a lot."
That kind of timing could generate traffic problems, he said.
Business owners along Reisterstown Road worry that a Wegmans at Foundry Row would worsen traffic congestion and hurt existing stores, said Bruce Levine, director of commercial real estate for M. Leo Storch Management Corp., which owns Garrison Forest Plaza.
"Reisterstown Road lately has suffered from high vacancy," Levine said. "The addition of another major retail component on Reisterstown Road would really exacerbate that."
County Council Chairwoman Vicki Almond, who represents the area where Solo Cup is located, said she's met with key players and community members to take their concerns into account.
"One of the things that we're concerned about is to make sure we don't make Reisterstown Road a ghost town," she said. "And then, of course, the traffic issue."
But Almond said she believes the projects are viable, pointing to White Marsh as an area that has been able to support multiple retail developments.
"I still tend to believe that we can support all three," she said of the projects in Owings Mills. "There just may have to be some compromises made as far as the amount of retail at each place."
The developers' plans indicate that they're seeking distinctive shopping experiences, tenants and pricing, Gundersen said.
"When you look at all of those different ingredients, and you look at the proposals that are on the table, you realize that they are different," Gundersen said. "The plans as proposed by the developers themselves do not suggest competing products. In fact, they can complement one another."