Odenton still on the verge Anne Arundel: Years of public investment in town center in western county may finally pay off.


BUILD A ROAD, and they will come. Anne Arundel's planners hope this will turn out to be true for the Odenton Town Center now that the widening of Piney Orchard Parkway has been completed. The red carpet is out. The county is just waiting for a developer to show up.

Virtually all the major infrastructure for the proposed town center, from roads to storm-water systems, has been completed.

Odenton -- the formerly sleepy village nicknamed "Boomtown" when it mostly served the needs of soldiers at nearby Fort Meade for liquor, cheap food and tattoos -- is on the verge of becoming one of Anne Arundel's prime growth areas.

Decades of planning and construction have put the necessary transportation elements in place. The area is well-served by local roads, including the new Piney Orchard Parkway and Route 175, and larger highways, such as Route 32 and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. In addition, Odenton is on the MARC train's Penn Line and is an easy 10-minute drive from Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

In the recently adopted General Development Plan, Odenton was one of the areas targeted for mixed-use development to attract a combination of residential, commercial and business uses.

Homebuilders have long recognized Odenton's potential. The area has become a bedroom community for thousands of residents in the past decade. Developers are adding houses in huge subdivisions such as Piney Orchard and Seven Oaks.

These families, in turn, have created demand for retail services and businesses.

Despite much public investment and county government's enthusiasm for placing businesses in the Odenton area, commercial developers have been slow to jump at the opportunity. Now that the economy is booming, interest rates are low and a shortage of Class A office space persists in the area, perhaps an enterprising developer will take advantage of Odenton's tremendous potential.

Pub Date: 6/30/98

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