"We're going to become Baltimore County's Bethesda," Kamenetz said during a news conference announcing the new restaurant tenants at the project under construction on more than 4 acres of land along Joppa Road adjacent to the Towson Town Center.
The $85 million project, built by Heritage Properties and The Cordish Companies, was formerly known as Towson Circle III and includes a 16-screen Cinemark movie theater as well as restaurant and retail space as well as an 862-space parking garage.
The county has pledged more than $6 million in grants to the project. The Baltimore County Revenue Authority is spending $12 million on the garage for which it will ultimately assume management.
Kamenetz said his vision of Towson includes making it a place where people live, work and socialize, as well as making it a destination for visitors.
"Better than Bethesda, better than Silver Spring or whatever else [County Executive] Ike Legget can churn up in Montgomery County," Kamenetz said.
This isn't the first time Kamenetz has looked to other jurisdictions longingly like Jay Gatsby stretching his arms out to the green light on the end of Daisy Buchanan's dock.
In 2010, shortly before being sworn-in, Kamenetz spoke of his desire to have the county become known for innovative government.
"When I was young, I remember very clearly that Baltimore County, at least in my opinion, was the ideas county—seen as a real innovator across the state. It was certainly home to that sense of innovation and creativity," Kamenetz said in November 2010. "And I had a sense that over the years, with all compliments to our friends to the west in Howard County, that they've kind of assumed that role in several ways.
"I have to tell you that I'm eager to have our county, Baltimore County, play that role again," he said.
The county executive mentioned Bethesda no less than half-a-dozen times during his news conference, even using it to punctuate comments made by others.
Sigmund Freud had his penis envy. Perhaps we can call this Bethesda Inferiority Complex?
Blake Cordish, vice president of The Cordish Company, said the Cinemark Theater planned for the complex would include VIP viewing areas for the over-21 crowd. The theater chain has one theater that offers the amenity in California and the offering in Towson would be the first of its kind on the East Coast.
"Not in Bethesda," Kamenetz added.