Rouse seeks expansion at Cross Keys


The Rouse Co. is seeking City Council approval to expand its retail space at the Village of Cross Keys and make other changes there.

Fifth District City Council members Iris Reeves, Rochelle "Rikki" Spector and Vera Hall jointly introduced Monday a bill that would amend a 1972 Planned Unit Development to permit a series of changes proposed by Village of Cross Keys Inc., a Rouse subsidiary.

According to the legislation, the Columbia-based developer is seeking authorization to construct a new ballroom annex to the Cross Keys Inn; construct an office building in place of several apartment buildings that were permitted in the previous Cross Keys plan but never constructed; build a "limited number" of town houses; build parking facilities; and convert "some or all of the second floor of the Village Square from office uses to retail uses or to a combination of retail uses and office uses."

Situated on the west side of Falls Road between Northern Parkway and the Poly Western High School complex, the village celebrated its 25th anniversary earlier this month. The bill has been referred to the council's land use committee and the Planning Commission for review and public hearings. Baltimore's Design Advisory Panel already has reviewed preliminary plans. No construction can begin until 30 days after the bill passes.

Royal Formal and Bridal Shops, the largest mid-Atlantic retailer of men's and women's formal wear, has opened its first Baltimore-area store at Loch Ridge Shopping Center in the 8500 bock of Loch Raven Boulevard. Royal leased 3,200 square feet in the retail center and simultaneously purchased the operation formally known as Valley Bridals. Lease negotiations were coordinated by Alan Shecter Realty Ventures, which is seeking additional Baltimore locations for the 14-store Royal chain.

Around the region:

* Bill Toohey, chief public information officer for Baltimore housing commissioner Robert Hearn, has resigned effective this week to become spokesman for Howard County Executive Elizabeth Bobo. Housing department information officer Zack Germoth will take his place until a permanent replacement is named.

* LDR International has been named the site planner for Worldbridge Centre, the $1 billion Asian theme park and investment center planned for a 1,000-acre tract in the Middle River section of Baltimore County. LDR will work with Emilio Ambasz and Associates Inc. of New York, the lead designer for the project.

* The YMCA fitness center in the subbasement of the Belvedere RTC Hotel closed permanently last month, after nearly a decade of operation. The closing leaves the YMCA without a facility in downtown or midtown Baltimore.

* The American Cafe will open a Towson restaurant at 2 Pennsylvania Avenue in early October. American Cafe/Monolith Enterprises recently leased 6,000 square feet on the first floor of the building there for a combination restaurant, bar and market cafe. Karen Wilmer of Kayne Levin Neilson Bavar Realtors represented the landlord and tenant.

* The Perpetual Title Building, a 3,744-square-foot building at 7 E. Franklin St., will be sold at a public auction the premises Oct. 9 at 11 a.m. A. J. Billig & Co. is the auctioneer.

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