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The lot that once was home to a fruit market and a Salvation Army thrift shop was filled with rubble and was used as a Christmas tree sales site in 2011.
The lot that once was home to a fruit market and a Salvation Army thrift shop was filled with rubble and was used as a Christmas tree sales site in 2011. (File photo/2011)

The furniture chain Gavigan's Home Furnishings plans to build a store at the vacant Joppa Road site that once was home to the Salvation Army Thrift Store and Harold's Fruit Market.

Harold's, a local institution for 40 years, and the thrift store have been torn down at 1750 East Joppa Road. The lot is owned by BSH Properties, LLC.

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Gavigan's, based in Linthicum Heights, also has stores in Westminster, the Forest Hill/Bel Air area, Dundalk and Glen Burnie. This fall, Gavigan's is opening a store on Route 40 in Catonsville.

The planned store in Towson would be 30,000 square feet, smaller than the store of 46,000 square feet in Forest Hill, for example, but "in line" with the Westminster store, said Robert Hoffman, a Baltimore-based attorney representing Gavigan's.

Gavigan's hopes to start construction late this year or early in 2016, and the store is expected to open in the spring or summer of 2016, Hoffman said.

Gavigan's is "looking forward to being part of the community," Vice President Robert Gavigan Jr. said in a written statement.

"I am happy this long-derelict site will finally be cleaned up, and with an employer who is well-known in the Baltimore region," said Baltimore County Councilman David Marks. "A furniture store is less intense than a fast food restaurant or other uses. It won't generate the same level of noise or traffic."

The council in 2013 passed legislation introduced by Marks making any new building in the Loch Raven Commercial Revitalization District subject to review by the Baltimore County Design Review Panel, which evaluates landscaping, parking and other features of new construction. Gavigan's, formerly known as Factory Outlet Furniture, is preparing to present its plans to the panel, probably in the next few weeks, and the project will be held to higher building standards, Marks said.

Marks said he is also excited about the furniture store coming as another sign of redevelopment in the aging Joppa Road corridor between Oakleigh Road and the Towson Marketplace shopping center.

"That corridor is finally starting to get some redevelopment," he said. "This is a corridor that for years has needed a facelift."

In late 2013, the Buccini/Pollin group proposed Loch Raven Commons, a $45 million mixed-use development with up to 200 high-end apartments, commercial space and a village green on the former Raytheon site on East Joppa Road. That project is still planned and in the county's development review phase, Marks said. He said Chick Fil-A, for one, is interested in being a tenant.

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