Development at former Towson Circle site to break ground Tuesday

Baltimore County officials and the team behind a new development in downtown Towson will host a ceremonial groundbreaking of a project now known as Circle East on Tuesday.

The $30 million redevelopment project is set to replace the former Towson Circle, which included a Trader Joe’s grocery and Barnes and Noble book store with a 390-unit apartment building and 240,000 square feet of street-level retail.

Representatives from Retail Properties of America Inc. and Virginia-based apartment developer AvalonBay will speak at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, along with Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and Baltimore County Councilman David Marks during the groundbreaking

Company officials re-branded the mixed-use shopping center, at East Joppa and York roads, as Circle East in October.

The ceremony will be at the Towson Circle at 1 E. Joppa Road.

“With Circle East starting construction, downtown Towson continues its dynamic growth as a vibrant place to live, work and enjoy life,” Kamenetz said in a statement. “We’ve seen more than $1 billion in recent private investment, adding jobs and economic vitality to the Baltimore County seat.”

Marks, a Republican who represents Towson, called the project a “game-changer” that he is “delighted” to see move forward.

"Not only does it bring residential density into downtown Towson to support our restaurants and other businesses, but it will give a badly-needed face-lift to the Joppa Road corridor approaching the downtown core,” he said in a Nov. 1 email.

RPAI, the Illinois-based real estate investment trust behind the project, typically focuses on shopping centers and has owned the property since 2004.

Company officials announced plans to redevelop the site in 2015 and subsequently acquired the Towson Square movie theater and restaurant project next door.

Demolition has begun on parts of the project, including the property around the old Bahama Breeze restaurant, which has been fenced off to pedestrians for months.

The project is described as a walkable environment, “unlike anything in the area” and "poised to transform downtown Towson," according to the developer’s plans.

When complete , it will include a mix of national and local retailers, restaurants and entertainment options, according to a news release.

Parking for the groundbreaking is available in Towson Town Center Garage B accessed from Dulaney Valley Road.

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