Could Big Box Retailer Replace North Point Police Station?

Councilman John Olszewski Sr. said a developer is exploring the possibility of bringing a big box retailer to the Merritt Boulevard and Wise Avenue area.

The Merritt Park Shopping Center is expected, as part of its planned renovation, to add a as its new anchor. But the news that a big box retailer wouldn’t be coming to the shopping center disappointed many local residents.

There may be hope across the street.

At the for a new Baltimore County Savings Bank on Holabird Avenue, Councilman John Olszewski Sr., chairman of the Baltimore County Council, said developers have approached the county about redeveloping the North Point Government Center property across the street from the Merritt Park Shopping Center. Olszewski cautioned that the discussions are only in preliminary stages, but said potential developers of the North Point Government Center have talked to a big box retailer about bringing a new store to the site.

“Someone is interested in the site,” Olszewski said. “They went to the county. If we can move forward, if we can make something happen that doesn’t cost the county, it’s a possibility.

“They’re interested in developing the property with a big box retailer,” Olszewski said.

Citing the very preliminary nature of the discussions, Olszewski did not want to name the potential developers or the big box retailer involved at this point.

Among the numerous government offices, Olszewski’s office and recreational space, the North Point Government Center is home to the Precinct 12 police station. Olszewski said the police station is in need of upgrades, specifically for the K-9 unit and holding areas and could benefit from a new state-of-the-art facility.

Olszewski said a new North Point Government Center could potentially be built on property near the new Dundalk High School and the College of Baltimore County campus.

Again, Olszewski cautioned the talks are preliminary and said developers would be required to “foot the bill” if the North Point Government Center is relocated to make room for commercial development.

“There’s a long way to go before any of this becomes a reality,” Olszewski said.

Baltimore County spokeswoman Ellen Kobler confirmed that developers over the past few years have approached the county about the North Point Station site. She also added, however, that nothing definitive is currently in the works.

Ginny jachimski August 09, 2011 at 06:45 PM
What about the property where the old north point drive in was? We need a grocery store please!!!!!
Wayne Monroe August 09, 2011 at 06:53 PM
Indeed, the site of the former North Point Drive-In would be a better site for a "big box "store, or the supermarket. Merritt Blvd. cannot handle the traffic. I can see the back-ups now for westbound Holabird traffic making the left turn into Merritt Park to the new store. (Shop Rite?) Diamond Point Plaza, Diamond Point Plaza, Diamond Point Plaza!
Marcie Lewandowski August 09, 2011 at 09:08 PM
There are a lot of large empty spaces in Dundalk. Add in the Diamond Point area and there is an excess of spaces for "big box retailers." But how does one define "big box retailer?" I don't see Wegman's coming to Dundalk, Target either. So who could it be? Another "big box" dollar store??? I sure hope not. Before the politicians throw this information out there, I sure hope they can back it up with real info.
Clifford Johnson August 09, 2011 at 09:11 PM
Bout time some real discussions!
Graham August 09, 2011 at 09:12 PM
Let me get this right, we let a company redevelop a property that is functional and we own it. To build on another property with all that that entails, moving reorganizing etc. And most probably the new site would be built with out of town non-union labor. And, just maybe they will use a certain amount of undocumented Aliens to book.
Graham August 09, 2011 at 09:15 PM
Oh, and I do not want to hear that the sale of the existing property would pay for the new site. Think Dunmanway.
Roxane August 09, 2011 at 09:50 PM
Touche, Graham. Well said.
cheryl August 10, 2011 at 12:55 AM
Nice choice of words undocumented aliens do you think our elected officials will understand that phrase because the word Illegal escapes them
George Krach August 10, 2011 at 01:17 AM
Just what we need more retail. How many shopping centers do we have already sitting with vacant space? I'll tell you, to many. This part of the county needs manufacturing jobs, not more of the same old low paying retail jobs. Also in the article they mention property close to Dundalk High for a new county office complex. Are we talking about the old Seagrams distillery. Just wondering who the developer and the elected county officials are that will benefit from that deal. Just a thought.
Buzz Beeler August 10, 2011 at 03:56 AM
George you hit the nail on the head. This is already starting out to be another setup. Notice this quote: "Olszewski did not want to name the potential developers or the big box retailer involved at this point." The question is why not considering you talked about everything else? Now explain this to me? How is a developer going to foot the bill building a new government center? Mr. Chairman, do you really know what you just stated? Any upgrades to any county facility is going to be paid for by the TAXPAYERS. Now, the property you referenced based on your own description would be the Seagrams building, the one they can't burn down, not that they didn't try. By the way, who owns the Seagrams building? Don't tell me, your best friend? Say it ain't so. You remember that Bob Ward wrote about the Seagrams property and your involvement that led to the property winding up in the hands of your best friend. Is that property still tied up in bankruptcy? That blog says quite a bit and it's not good. The good ole boy network keeps right on trucking, but one day it will come to a end. It reminds me of the night at the community meeting on the Fort Howard development, you know the one where the developers were going to get right back to the community. Seems now they have nothing to say. I did find it odd you were asking the developers questions you already had the answers to, kinda like here.
Bruce Kahl August 10, 2011 at 11:45 AM
WE own the existing building and the land around it. Why would we give it away. The building needs upgrades as does patapsco High School but nothing is happening t here. Remember when you said you would help get them a fence, bathrooms and bleachers for them? Did we forget? Not another great idea that doesn't pay off for anyone but a few to make money.
Katelin August 10, 2011 at 03:50 PM
How dare you Mr Olszewski. You who STOLE the house that I lived in for over 15 years in Edgemere right out from under my parents. Right after we were hit by the worst flood in the Dundalk/ Sparrows Point area ( Isabelle). How dare you try to make some backroom deal to benift yourself further by moving the North Point Government Center. The location of the old North Point drive in/ flea market should be first on a list to get a big box retailer. The Merrit Park shopping center is also NOT in need of a grocery store there are PLENTY in the same area already. There are two Mars locations as well as a Giant and a Box and Save, so ask yourself do we really NEED a grocery store??? Answer probably not!!
Buzz Beeler August 10, 2011 at 04:41 PM
Kamenetz and Chief Johnson tour the Dundalk Government Center, how convenient. I can hear them now. We need a new government center. Where oh where is the property be; we all remember that tune. If this leads to Seagrams and the boys club, then there needs to be a higher government to look into the lower government. The county doesn't even have a pot to look at much less ..., never mind.
Wayne Monroe August 10, 2011 at 04:54 PM
No doubt in my mind the councilman smells a deal and is planting the seed while awaiting to hear from "Mr. Green".
Karebear August 10, 2011 at 06:11 PM
What is next? Are we going to find corporate sponsors to fund our school building renovations and improvements? Perhaps Patapsco High School could be Pepsi-co Center for the arts?
Dundalkwatchdog August 10, 2011 at 06:11 PM
Katelin, maybe you can tell every how Johnny O got the permit to do the work on your parenys home so close to the water. Maybe some one can explain how the Seahorse got a permit to expand when they don't have the parking spots for what they had already.
Karebear August 10, 2011 at 06:17 PM
@Dundalkwatchdog, good points. From what I heard, the beach house was basically forced to shut down, but the Seahorse can expand...interesting...
Jill August 10, 2011 at 06:18 PM
Wayne, you are so right. Diamon Point Plaza has so much potential and could be really nice with some decent stores!
Jill August 10, 2011 at 06:24 PM
I can't believe what my husband and I had to go thru just to put a deck on the back of our house. It was unreal. We live right by grange. We had termites and had to rip out all the trees, shrubs, etc. from the former owner, just to have the county tell us we needed to plant more greenery or pay a flat fee.
Buzz Beeler August 10, 2011 at 06:25 PM
I said last night that I think they are laying the ground work for another sweetheart deal. Is it a coincidence that Kamenetz and Johnson visit the Government Center right after this story broke. What better way to say we need a new building. Interestingly after the Fort Howard and the feel good plans of the developers and their promise to bridge the gap between the them and the community, not a word, not even a peep.
Jimmy August 10, 2011 at 09:51 PM
I guess $20 mill from the Yorkway project wasn't enough. Let's see, we will sell the gov't center for $2.5 mill and buy Seagrams with a new gov't center on it for $50 mill. And Johnny O's office will have top of the line office furniture, a kitchen with imported floor tile and a private bathroom with shower to wash off the sheetrock dust after a hard day's work. Sound about right? Then we will have to expand Merritt Bl and Wise Ave to accomodate the added traffic going to the new big box store that will be vacant in 2 years. Yep, I think that's how this project will go.
George Krach August 10, 2011 at 09:52 PM
Marcie it's quite apparent why these other locations don't work. The developer in question doesn't own them, but I bet he owns the Seagrams property.
Wayne Monroe August 10, 2011 at 10:41 PM
Actually, the present "government center" site is not very well suited to a "big box" store with the big communications tower in the way. If they need a new police station let them build it there and move Alliance out somewhere else and move the councilman's office to the Dundalk shopping center.
George Krach August 10, 2011 at 10:46 PM
Dundalk doesn't need another shopping center, we need to refurbish and fill the ones we already have. Jimmy is right they will build this new shopping center and it will sit half empty or the developer will make sweet deals with the local business's to move to the new location. Making the vacancy rates higher in the existing shopping centers. We have have all the shopping centers we need in that area. I agree the North Point area is in need of a supermarket.
Buzz Beeler August 10, 2011 at 11:11 PM
Jimmy, I'm glad I'm not the only one who sees this. Are you listening FuzzFeeler? He thinks I see pink elephants. You think he might be on the opposing team? People out there think this is all a figment of our imagination. Jim did you ever read Bob Ward's take on this via the Sun Talk Board? He was a developer who wanted to buy Seagrams and was ready to go when he got chopped off at the knees and the property went to our favorite developer and then into bankruptcy court. What is puzzling is the silence over the Fort Howard PUD that was supposed to be done at the end of June. This featured some of the same cast of characters.
George Krach August 10, 2011 at 11:13 PM
Not to mention the existing police station sits right on the corner of a major intersection, giving them immediate access in all directions.
Rick Riddle November 23, 2011 at 02:00 PM
I have been coaching soccer for Eastfield Rec for 9 years and our Rec council has used there own funds that we worked hard to raise to keep the recreation facility up and running. Baltimore County has never paid a dime for anything. Now Mr Olszewski wants to seal a deal to put a Big Box Store there such as a Target. Where will our little kids go now to play Soccer or to Wrestle for Dundalk. There are many other areas that a big box store go. Lets see how about where the old Flee market use to be in North Point I guess that makes to much sense. I agree we could use a Target like store in the area but not here at the Northpoint Government Center. I'm all for it if the new Government Center that is going to be built is going to include a recreation facility that can hold a indoor soccer field for our children ranging from 3 yrs old - 8 yrs old. It has taken years to get lights on the outdoor fields at the Government Center and now they are finally going to be put in by spring. Only people getting hurt here are our children if this project happens and if it does i will never shop there again and hope that anyone that reads this that loves sports and our children will never shop there either.
Wayne Monroe November 23, 2011 at 06:48 PM
Don't worry about it, Rick. The councilman was just blowing smoke, promoting the idea that the county would buy his friend's property.
George Krach November 23, 2011 at 09:26 PM
Rick, for now Wayne is most likely right, just blowing smoke or fishing for reaction from the community. BUT! never say never with this bunch in office today.
Alexander June 03, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Why is Councilman Olszewski trying to hide his close friendship with the owner of the Seagram's property? This is a relationship that keeps on giving.


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