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Medical building to open in early December

First District Councilman Tom Quirk, left, and Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz were among the guest speakers during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new $10 million medical office building set to open Dec. 8 on Frederick Road.
First District Councilman Tom Quirk, left, and Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz were among the guest speakers during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new $10 million medical office building set to open Dec. 8 on Frederick Road. (Staff photo by Lauren Loricchio, Baltimore Sun Media Group)

A $10 million, three-story office building is set to open for business Dec. 8 in Catonsville.

The 30,000-square-foot building is being developed by Baltimore-based Solstice Partners for Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland.

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It replaces a building formerly inhabited by the Baltimore County Department of Social Services.

"The wonderful thing about this is that all of your staff and all of your patients will be here to spend money on Frederick Road and that's a wonderful thing for Catonsville," said 1st District Councilman Tom Quirk during the Nov. 19 ribbon cutting ceremony in front of the building at 910 Frederick Road.

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Quirk was among a group of roughly 40 Baltimore County public officials and community members who braved the cold to attend last week's ceremony.

"The whole idea is to create economic development opportunities," Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said during the event. "Catonsville needs to continue to grow and thrive."

"With the size of the building, the biggest issue was parking," said Jeff Jacobson, principal at Solstice Partners. "It was only a 14,000-square-foot building, so there wasn't enough parking for a 30,000 square foot building."

Jacobson said an arrangement has been worked out with neighboring Catonsville United Methodist Church, at 6 Melvin Avenue.

The Baltimore County Council passed legislation sponsored by Quirk, changing a zoning regulation for the required number of parking spaces in commercial revitalization areas in May 2013, according to county records.

The law allows the number of required parking spaces to be reduced by 10 percent, subject to approval from the county Director of Permits, Approvals and Inspections, if a industrial or office building is located in a commercial revitalization district and the pedestrian entrance is within 1,000 feet of a transit stop.

Teal Cary, executive director of the Greater Chamber of Commerce, said doctors from the company have been members of the chamber for more than a year.

"I know the chamber is thrilled to have them as Frederick Road neighbors and I think it will bring increased foot traffic to our businesses," Cary said. "It will be terrific to have all those new people in Catonsville."

Not everyone was happy to see the new building. Former 1st District Councilwoman Berchie Manley, a longtime Catonsville resident, said she never had the opportunity to voice her opposition to the plan because the county changed the approval process.

"We lost the opportunity to appeal it because they kept it secret and that's not open government," she said the next day.

Don Mohler, chief of staff for the county executive, said nothing in the approval process changed during the course of the project.

"In my wildest dreams, I don't know why anyone would oppose this project," Mohler said the day after the ribbon cutting. "That was a vacant building and we were able to attract a world-class project to Catonsville."

Manley said the large, modern building "opens the door for redevelopment."

"It will not be good for Catonsville because it is setting the precedent of intense development," Manley said.

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