Pending permitting, demolition is set to start in December, said Roger Holland of Holland Properties, which owns the building. Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. has not completed its investigation into the cause of the explosion.
The December timeline was not a surprise to Suzanne Delica, owner of consignment store Clothes Mentor and one of the tenants in the shopping center. Delica, an engineer by trade, envisioned it would take months, if not a year, to rebuild.
Clothes Mentor was on the verge of their second anniversary when the explosion happened, and a temporary location is not conducive for the business, she said.
Now, Delica must decide whether to wait it out or find a new home for her store.
“We loved where we were, and that would be the best thing for us to go back to that unit,” she said. “I want to continue that momentum, before customers move on to something else. I just need to know what’s happening so I can make the best business decisions."
She added, “For me personally, I expected it to be a very lengthy process. I want to know what that timeline looks like after December so I can make a business decision if I need to move on.”
Since the explosion the morning of Aug. 25, communication from both the property owners and BGE has been described by some tenants as “limited” and “pretty infrequent.”
Kelly Drake, co-founder/director of Anxiety Treatment Center of Maryland, said the December demolition plan was speculated among tenants but was never formally communicated.
Like Clothes Mentor, Pub Dog has not moved to a temporary location. Walston said they haven’t been able to find a location suitable for their needs.
While they wait for communication on next steps, some tenants have joined an email group that formed about a month after the explosion. Drake said the group does not include everyone in the building as they’ve had some trouble tracking all the tenants down.
“We try to share what we have with each other,” she said. “We’ve all been left to put the puzzle pieces together on our own.”
BGE completed the site work phase of the investigation Oct. 18, according to an email from BGE spokeswoman Tasha Jamerson. The next phase of the investigation, which is currently under way, will analyze equipment collected to determine cause.
“Our initial inspection during that phase indicates that there was damage to our underground electric cables and damage to the gas line,” Jasmerson wrote in the email. “At this time we cannot say when the investigation will be completed.”
“This was a very devastating incident, a solution will not come overnight. In that regard I’ll try to be patient, but I do need to make a business decision,” she said. “Even if we do choose to move on, there’s a lot that goes into that.”