8 acres at Spring Grove may become park

Part of the historic Spring Grove Hospital Center in Catonsville would become a regional park if Baltimore County planners have their way.

State officials, who own and operate the facility, which opened in 1797, recently offered 8.8 acres at the 200-acre hospital site for parkland, County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said Thursday. Kamenetz said he asked the county’s Planning Department to submit a formal request for the property.

A Jan. 7 notice from the state’s assistant secretary of planning, Linda C. Janey, declared the land and the center’s Hamilton Building surplus and recommended “joint uses of the property by the University System of Maryland and Baltimore County.”

County officials will attempt to use Project Open Space funds to create the park and raze the Hamilton Building, although Kamenetz said it’s too early to address designs.

Part of the offer for shared space extends to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. The UMBC campus was built in on land that was formerly part of Spring Grove.

“It is far too early to talk about the specific scope of the project,” said Kamenetz. “There are significant funding issues to address, and we have not had any discussions with UMBC officials yet regarding shared use of the property. However, I did not want this opportunity to pass.”

Spring Grove is the second oldest psychiatric hospital in the U.S. and has been its current site since 1852. The facility will continue to operate its 330 beds there.

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St. John Properties has inked another lease with Dunkin’ Donuts, this time for a 1,750-square foot store at Lakeshore Plaza in Pasadena.

Lakeshore Plaza is a 161,000-square-foot retail center at the intersection of Route 100 and Magothy Beach Road, where St. John recently spent $3 million on renovations.

It will be the fourth Dunkin’ Donuts store in the St. John portfolio. Bill Holzman, assistant vice president of retail leasing for St. John, said he expected Dunkin’ Donuts to bring in customers at all times of the day, increasing traffic in the center and helping all of Lakeshore Plaza’s tenants.

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Baltimore County Executive Kamenetz used social media Thursday to welcome news that the Recher Theatre in Towson would soon become the Torrent Nightclub.

The Sun first reported the conversion of the small concert hall located on York Road near Towson Circle.

Kamenetz tweeted at midday: “Just spoke to Brian Recher. Delighted the Rechers are investing $500K in downtown Towson to convert Recher Theatre to upscale nightclub.”

The switch, to become official in late March, was not so popular with David Marks, who represents Towson on the County Council. Marks told The Sun he did not know about the move to convert the concert hall into a nightclub and was “extraordinarily disappointed.”

Last fall, the Recher was at the epicenter of controversy after a melee erupted near its doors and spilled onto the streets. The problems stemmed from an event sponsored by the Theta Mu Mu fraternity at the theatre that became jam-packed and disruptive.

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TIDBITS: A Savers Thrift Store will open in Parkville next month at 1925 East Joppa Road. The store will partner with the local chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America and will pay the nonprofit for every item donated at the Community Donation Center at Savers, as well for all items donated directly to the organization through its home pick-up service … Scheer Partners recently promoted veteran leasing agent Matt Brady to senior vice president. That makes eight professionals added to the Rockville firm over the past couple of years … New data are in from HOPE NOW, a voluntary, private sector alliance of mortgage servicers, investors, mortgage insurers and nonprofit counselors showing that last year, 850,034 homeowners received loan modifications from mortgage servicers. There were 422,605 short sales completed in 2012, the figures show … Atlantic Design Inc. recently leased a 42,275-square-foot building at 11505 Pocomoke Court. MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services brokered the deal. Atlantic, which manufacturers air and particle removal equipment, has been located at 2200 Van Deman St. in East Baltimore … Mercy Medical Center’s former main building turned 50 years old this month. At the time of construction, the building was considered “ultra modern,” according to the Catholic Review, with eight operating rooms and two labor and delivery floors. The Catholic Review reported this week that the facility is still in use today serving outpatient needs. Most of the medical focus at Mercy moved into a new 20-story building in 2010.

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