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New Towson Commons owners plan to fill space within a year

Michael Stoltz of MFI Realty at Towson Commons.
Michael Stoltz of MFI Realty at Towson Commons. (Pamela Wood)

A developer hopes to bring shops and restaurants to a stretch of vacant storefronts in the Towson Commons building in downtown Towson.

Towson Commons Retail LLC — a venture between Baltimore-based MFI Realty and Bethesda-based Woodmont Properties — bought 115,000 square feet of the Towson Commons building in November. The sale was announced Tuesday. The purchase price was $15.25 million, according to state tax records.

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Located at the corner of York Road and Pennsylvania Avenue, and with a rotunda shape and tall glass windows, Towson Commons is a distinctive building. Michael Stoltz, director of leasing for Baltimore-based MFI Realty, called the building "the Main and Main of downtown Towson."

Stoltz said he hopes to bring in a mix of shops, restaurants and service businesses, such as a salon, to fill the space. He declined to name potential tenants.

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County Executive Kevin Kamenetz publicly challenged MFI Realty to fill the space within a year.

"That's a challenge accepted," Stoltz said.

The 115,000 square feet includes about 45,000 square feet of street-level stores that face York Road or Pennsylvania Avenue. The rest is interior and second-story stores. The only tenant in that space is Kyodai Rotating Sushi Bar on the Pennsylvania Avenue side of the building.

Kamenetz praised the deal as another step in the redevelopment and urbanization of downtown Towson. One of the biggest projects in downtown is the nearby Towson Row mixed-use project by Caves Valley Partners.

Kamenetz said he considers the construction of Towson Commons as one of the first attempts to revitalize Towson, but over time the project failed. It used to house a movie theater, Borders bookstore and a craft gallery.

The retail storefronts have been vacant for at least five years, Kamenetz said. In 2014, L.A. Fitness moved into a renovated space in the building that used to house an AMC movie theater.

LA Fitness, an office building anchored by General Dynamics and the parking garage at Towson Commons remain under separate ownership.

Kamenetz said he was pleased that a local company bought the Towson Commons storefronts because they know the local market.

"We believe the local tie here is important," said Kamenetz, who was joined at a news conference to announce the development by Democratic and Republican politicians as well as business community leaders.

MFI owns or handles leasing for about a half-dozen properties along York Road between Towson and Hunt Valley, and Stoltz said his company has connections with potential tenants as well as insight to what type of stores would work in the space.

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