Movie theater with 10 screens in the works for Eldersburg

Years after a down economy halted its Main Street Eldersburg project, Black Oak Associates is moving forward with plans to build a 10-screen movie theater along Londontowne Boulevard.

Now named Eldersburg Station, the proposed development project also includes five restaurant or retail sites on a 12.5-acre site adjacent to the Home Depot, Safeway and Walmart.

Black Oak is nearing the end of negotiations with a "national cinema operator," and company President Dixon Harvey said he hopes a formal announcement will be made within several months.

While Black Oak has received interest in the retail and restaurant sites, Harvey said his firm remains in the early stages of discussions on those fronts.

The Eldersburg Station project is tentatively slated for a spring 2016 opening.

"We are thrilled to be where we are," Harvey said. "But I want to throw out the word of caution. We're not there yet."

Harvey described the Eldersburg Station project as an obvious place to go for dinner and a movie, adding that it will have a "pedestrian friendly internal network."

Harvey said Black Oak is "ecstatic" on two fronts about its progress on the Eldersburg Station project. He said a theater represents something desired by the community, while the entire project "rounds out the economic development puzzle in Eldersburg."

Harvey added that county support, in terms of permitting and site improvements, will be "critical" to the project's progress.

Work had started in 2007 on Main Street Eldersburg with early grading of the site, but the economic downturn caused three lead tenants to back out of the project.

The project, then approved by the Carroll County Planning Commission, called for a $20 million shopping venue, including restaurants and retail.

Harvey said the Main Street project is "not viable" today, adding that there has been "great interest" from the community for a movie theater.

The area's former movie theater at the Carrolltowne Center closed in 2009.

Black Oak is also redeveloping the former Carrolltowne Center into Eldersburg Commons, with plans that call for a Walmart and other retailers such as AT&T, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Noodles & Co., Petco, T.J. Maxx, and Vitamin Shoppe.

The $50 million redevelopment project has been slated for a late 2014 or early 2015 completion.

Carroll County Commissioner Doug Howard, who represents the Eldersburg area, said that Eldersburg Station would complement other businesses in the area, which has become a hub of activity in Eldersburg.

"I know it's still in the early planning stages, but I'm excited for it," he said of the proposed project.

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