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Several development plans in the works in South Carroll

South Carroll will see several changes in the future, especially along Md. 26, as developers work to develop and redevelop several new and already existing business locations.

When Eldersburg's Kmart closed this summer, South Carroll residents were left wondering what would come of Carrolltown Center.

The 330,000-square-foot retail center off of Liberty Road was once home to Kmart, Peebles and Blockbuster Videos, all which closed this year, and the Carrolltown 6 movie theater, which closed in late 2009.

For years, residents, like former Freedom Area Citizen's Council President Ellen Dix, have called for Black Oak Associates, the Owings Mills-based company that owns Carrolltown Center, to redevelop the property.

Black Oak President Dixon Harvey had said previously that the company planned to redevelop the property since 2004.

Project Manager Ray Keil said Black Oak is coming closer to its redevelopment plans.

"We are working with the county to determine if we will be able to agree on the parameters which determine the feasibility of our goal, which is to totally redevelop this property and create a fresh retail destination that will benefit the community," he said. "If we are able to move forward, we would like to bring in several new businesses that can offer improved shopping, dining and service choices to the community."

Keil said the company plans to make a formal announcement soon.

About 3 miles west of Carrolltown Center on Liberty Road lies the newly developed Liberty Exchange.

The 40-acre business park, owned by Baltimore-based St. John's Properties, will comprise approximately 225,000 square feet of office, retail, and flex space when it is completed, according to leasing agent Will McCullough.

Liberty Exchange currently has four buildings: two office buildings, one flex space warehouse building and a retail building.

The office buildings are approximately 25,000 square feet each, the flex space is approximately 61,000 square feet, and the retail building is approximately 16,000 square feet, according to McCullough.

McCullough said the first office building is now 100 percent leased, mostly to medical tenants, with a few professional and sales offices as well.

The second office building, which was completed this spring, is a mirror image of the first. So far there has been one lease signed for the second office building.

The flex warehouse building is leased to about 50 percent capacity, with around 30,000 square feet of space still available, McCullough said.

The flex building is home to a variety of different tenants, including Hoppers KidZone, Diamondback Signal and Orkin Pest Control.

McCullough said the 16,000-square-foot retail space has at least two tenants, and there are plans for a Subway restaurant to move into the building in the future.

In addition to the retail building, there are pad sites on the property for anything from a gas station, to a bank, to a restaurant, McCullough said.

McCullough said St. John's Properties will continue with development at Liberty Exchange as the demand for space grows, and he is optimistic that will happen.

He said a new flex space warehouse building could be up as soon as next year.

"I think there's an opportunity for some additional amenities and new tenants that aren't already existing in Carroll County," he said. "The other demand has been largely from tenants in neighboring communities, like Howard County, who were looking to open up new branches of already existing businesses because they've seen the population growth and the educated workforce in the area."

There are other plans for development around Md. 26 and Md. 32 in Eldersburg, too, in addition to Liberty Exchange and Carrolltown Center.

Patrick Varga, a development review coordinator for the county's Bureau of Development Review, said the bureau is currently processing an amended site plan for the Princess Shopping Center located at the corner of Md. 26 and Md. 32.

Varga said in 2009 a plan for a third retail space in the southwest corner of the property at Princess Shopping Center was approved. Now the developer, Stavlaou LLC, wishes to redesign the building, keeping the first floor for retail space and adding 28 residential apartment units to the second floor.

Varga said the new plan was presented to the county's Planning and Zoning Commission as a concept site plan on Sept. 18, and it will have to follow the department's review process before it can be approved.

A concept plan for a Chick-Fil-A on the property immediately to the south of the Zumbrun Funeral Home on Md. 32, north of Bartholow Road, was presented to the Planning and Zoning Commission on Aug. 21. Varga said he expects a final plan to be presented to the commission for approval in the next several months.

There are several other active development plans in South Carroll, Varga said, including a Royal Farms at the southwest corner of Md. 26 and Md. 32 that was approved earlier this year, and Illiano Property Eldersburg, which was approved in 2010, although construction has not yet begun.

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