Plans to renovate the historic Roland Park Shopping Center could reach Baltimore's preservation board next month.
Planners are trying to get on the agenda of the Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation, or CHAP, for its Sept. 13 meeting, said project architect Vincent Greene, whose office is located in the center, 4800 Roland Ave.
Greene and a team that included two representatives of the Foreman-Wolf restaurant group presented renovation plans to the Roland Park Civic League on Aug. 4.
Renovations would be in keeping with "the original intent" of the center as built in the early 1900s and would preserve the center's "historical integrity," presenters told the league.
Restaurateur Tony Foreman of Roland Park and chef Cindy Wolf, who are already anchors of the center with their Petit Louis bistro, plan to open a second restaurant there, but at a lower price point.
Also planned is a six-foot-tall sign at the center entrance, to list the center's tenants. Size-wise, it would be the first sign of any consequence on Roland Avenue between West Cold Spring Lane and the private schools to the north, according to civic league president Phil Spevak.
The sign wouldn't state the center's name, just the address number, with smaller signs for each tenant below it. There is no sign identifying the center except a historical marker.
The point of the sign is to "keep it subtle, but identifiable," Allison Parker-Abromitis, vice president of development and communication for Foreman-Wolf, told the league.
The league must approve the signage, which is regulated by community covenants.
Members of the civic league were receptive to the proposed sign, though board member David Blumberg suggested two signs might be better, "so people don't have to look back as they're driving and say, 'What was that (address) number?"
Renovations in the center would include lighting upgrades, designed to make the center safer, cleaner and brighter, the presenters said.
Some light bulbs are currently screwed into bare sockets in the eaves, they said.
Also being considered are sidewalk improvements, so that people could walk on the sidewalk into the center, without having to walk through the parking lot, which is dangerous, Greene said.
The renovations are part of big changes and turnover at the center, which is believed to be the oldest in the nation.
Longtime center owners Jim Ward and his daughter, Tricia, are negotiating with the restaurant group to open the second restaurant in the space where Roland Park Bakery and Deli was located for 27 years.
Anita Ward, owner of the bakery/deli and the aunt of Tricia Ward, moved the bakery/deli to Hampden earlier this year.
A tenant of note that is due to open in the center this month is the clothier Eddie Jacobs, Ltd., which was downtown for 72 years.