Sykesville — After three mayors, about eight town councils, three town managers — and one interim manager — the Town of Sykesville finally closed the deal selling the Warfield Commerce and Cultural Center.
The Warfield Collaborative, a collection of local investors and business people, made the purchase 18 years after the whole process began, officially closing the deal on Tuesday, June 26.
“It’s amazing. It’s unbelievable from my perspective,” said Sykesville Mayor Ian Shaw the next day. “Oh my God — I feel so good.”
Shaw said he and the Sykesville Town Council has been meeting monthly with the Warfield Development Corp., the community improvement committee tasked with developing, implementing and overseeing projects like Warfield.
“It’s going to be really important to mention that this has really been a public-private partnership with the Warfield Collaborative,” Shaw said, “and we are looking forward to the success of the site and bringing both their vision and our vision to life: for a mixed-use project that really will benefit not just Sykesville, but all of Carroll County and get these buildings back to life, as well as new modern additions to the town.”
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Town Manager Aretha Adams said now that the largest deal in Sykesville history has been finalized, the buyer, developers and town can move forward to the next steps.
“The next step is the residential piece on Parcels E and F,” she said. “They have already come to the Historic District, so the facade of those townhouses [can be planned]. There will be about 140 to 145 townhouses.
“Lennar [Homes] has come in, the [prospective] builder, and Elm Street [Development]… is the main developer,” Adams said. “They’ve already started putting together their plans for the site, and so hopefully they will be breaking ground soon on the residential piece.”
And as plans continue to develop for commercial areas and office space, both Shaw and Adams said a synergy between Sykesville’s Main Street and the Warfield Development is key. Perhaps with some businesses opening satellite locations in Warfield, or different entrepreneurs using it as “incubator” or experimental space.
Moving forward on Warfield is also part of a larger vision, Shaw said, one that has Sykesville as a place that encompasses all aspects of life.
“We’ve been a bedroom community, really; that’s what we’ve been,” he said. “Everyone leaves here to go to work.
“We are trying to change that now so that people don’t have to leave to go to work,” said Shaw. “That’s really been the new vision of Warfield: to bring the jobs so people can live, work and play in one place.”