Revised plan for Towson Circle III earns county review committee's blessing

The developers of Towson Circle III, a proposed commercial project touting restaurants, retail space and a new cinema for downtown Towson, came before the county's Development Review Committee on Tuesday, Sept. 27, and secured approval for a new set of revisions to the long-anticipated project.

Towson Circle III is slated for a 4-acre site bounded by Joppa Road and Virginia, Pennsylvania and Delaware avenues.

David Karceski, speaking on behalf of the Cordish Companies, developer of the project, told the review committee that the latest revisions are designed to "break up the two buildings in front into smaller structures."

Instead of two larger buildings along Joppa Road, the new plan provides for six smaller structures that will likely house chain restaurants, and also provides for a new entranceway and landscaping within the complex.

Jack Cannella, vice president of construction and design for Heritage Properties, which is teaming with Cordish to develop the site, said the new plans include a one-way entrance off Joppa Road that will lead to a European-style fountain and roundabout, with an exit onto Virginia Avenue

During the hearing, Cannella said the new space makes the area "a lot more open to the community."

In addition, Cannella said restaurants — as opposed to the previously proposed multi-purpose buildings that included office space — would lessen the required amount of parking in the area.

However, there were no updates provided on the linchpin to the entire project: a tenant for the proposed anchor movie theater.

Several times during the hearing, Karceski refered to the centerpiece of the project as the "cinema" building, and when pressed further, he said that a cinema was still planned for the main structure.

The request to have revised plans approved — the 11th revision to the project since it was first introduced — was the first new development since April, when the Baltimore County Revenue Authority reiterated financial support for the center's underground parking garage, and approved an extension that gave the developers more time to break ground after missing an initial deadline.

Nancy Hafford, director of the Towson Chamber of Commerce, attended the meeting and said that at this point, she's just waiting for the work to begin.

"I know they want to get this done," she said. "I'll be thrilled to death, up on Joppa Road with pom poms when they break ground."

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