The future of Towson Commons is being placed in the hands of a West Towson native with 25 years of retail leasing experience.
Margaret Meginniss, a partner in the real estate firm, Sierra U.S., was announced Tuesday as the agent in charge of leasing the multi-level retail space in downtown Towson.
"It's going to be a great project, Meginniss said. "We've had very strong initial demand for space from both national and local groups that want to be in Towson."
Towson Commons, which was sold in late June to Garrison Investment Group, is currently undergoing a renovation in anticipation of a new 53,000-square-foot L.A. Fitness club.
Meginniss said leasing would not begin for the retail space until construction is completed, but said the building's facelift will give each tenant "their own very distinct look" and put a new façade on a building some have considered an eyesore.
Meginniss, who lives in Monkton, has experience working with Towson Commons from her previous employer, Williams Jackson Ewing, a developer based in Baltimore.
Nancy Hafford, executive director of the Towson Chamber of Commerce, said she sees "all kinds of stuff happening" at Towson Commons. Hafford said several of the ground-level retail spaces have activity going on inside them, a change from the sprawling vacancies of years past.
"For the community, the big part of the problem with Towson Commons is because (the vacancies) started at the Lafayette building and they went around almost to Charles Village Pub," Hafford said. "It was almost a quarter mile of vacant retail space. When people talked about Towson in the past and they said, 'Look at all your vacant spots' — 95-percent of it was one building."
That, Meginniss said, would not likely be the case for long.
"I could lease this thing full of restaurants," she said. "I have so many restaurants that want to be there, (but) it'll be a combination of retail and restaurants."
Towson Commons' redevelopment is one of several development projects in Towson that could alter Towson's landscape in the coming years. Along with the modernized Towson Commons space, a 15-screen Cinemark movie theater will anchor Towson Square, an $85 million entertainment complex containing eight restaurants just east of Towson Circle.
In June, Caves Valley Partners announced Towson Row, a $300 million mixed use development that will include nearly an entire block between York Road, West Chesapeake Avenue and Washington Avenue.
Additionally, plans are progressing for a planned unit development, 101 York, which includes ground-level retail and 200 student housing apartment units just north of the corner of York Road and Burke Avenue.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun