BTR Realty plans to build Owings Mills shopping center


The developers of Owings Mills New Town announced yesterday that BTR Realty Inc. will build a 125,000-square-foot shopping center there and that Giant Food Inc. will be the anchor tenant.

Planned for a 12.5-acre parcel at Lakeside Boulevard and Groffs Mill Drive, the shopping center is the first commercial venture announced for the 5,000-unit development.

Founded in 1947, Linthicum-based BTR has developed and managed office and industrial space as well as shopping centers. Its largest retail project is the 500,000-square-foot Harford Mall in Bel Air. BTR officials indicated to shareholders last month that the company may cut back on development and focus on acquiring and managing existing properties, but they did not rule out some new construction.

"This retail project is characteristic of the type of selective development that BTR Realty plans for the future," Vice President Bruce Preston said.

Because it is a market leader, "Giant Food represents a significant coup as a retail anchor," said James K. Griffin Jr., vice president of Ahmanson Developments Inc., a partner in the development team for Owings Mills New Town.

According to an Ahmanson spokeswoman, the developers have agreed to sell the Lakeside Boulevard parcel to BTR so it can move ahead with the project. A definitive construction timetable has not been set, but the center should begin to take shape over the next couple of years, she said.

More than 100 detached homes, town homes and condominiums at Owings Mills New Town have been purchased, and a Sports and Recreation Center opened this spring. Ahmanson last month announced plans to build the first phase of Red Run Apartments, eventually to have more than 500 units.

Other builders include Five Oaks Development Corp., which is constructing 109 town homes; Bozzuto & Associates of Greenbelt, which is building 136 garden condominiums; Meadow Development Corp. of Annandale, Va., which is building 45 detached houses; and Spring Mill Development Inc., which is building 204 condominiums in a joint venture with Ahmanson.

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