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Wegmans to open store at Solo Cup site in Owings Mills

Wegmans Food Market Inc. announced Monday it plans to open a store in Owings Mills at the site of the now shuttered Solo Cup factory.

Wegmans in Abingdon

It will be the second Baltimore County location for the mega grocery and specialty foods store. A Wegmans opened at the Hunt Valley Town Center in Cockeysville in the fall of 2005 with 500 new employees, said Fronda Cohen, a county spokeswoman.

“Attracting this premier chain is part of our larger strategy to redevelop not only the Solo site, but the Owings Mills Mall and the Metro Centre project as well,” Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said in a statement.

“I am working hard to jump start momentum in the Owings Mills corridor. A Wegmans based retail center will energize community activity throughout the Owings Mills Town Center. “

Cohen said the plan to locate a Wegmans in Owings Mills will require rezoning of the property, which could take up to a year.

Officials had no further details, including when the store might open and how big it could be.

The site, at Reisterstown  and Painters Mill Roads, held the Solo Cup Co. manufacturing plant. Last June, company officials said they were closing the 1.4 million-square-foot plant and eliminating 540 jobs.

But the Wegmans announcement that it will be an anchor tenant at the redeveloped site was heralded as a bright sign. Last week, county officials joined General Growth Properties and Kimco Realty Corp. in announcing that parts of the struggling Owings Mills Mall would be razed for a $65 million redevelopment.

“I am very excited about Wegmans’ lease of the Solo Cup site and what it says about Owings Mills,” County Councilwoman Vicki Almond said in a statement.

The project is part of a renewed focus on Owings Mills, Kamenetz said, nearly 25 years after the area was designated a growth site by county officials similar to White Marsh.

Jim Smith, the former Baltimore County executive, represents Greenberg Gibbons Commercial, the developer of the Solo Cup site, which will be converted to a development called Foundry Row in Owings Mills, where Wegmans will be an anchor tenant.

Smith could not be reached for comment Monday.

Wegmans is based in Rochester, N.Y. The chain opened a 125,000-square-foot store in Abingdon, just off Interstate 95, in mid-September. It is planning on opening a 145,000-square-foot store in Columbia in June.

This summer, the Baltimore County broke ground on a $30 million, six-story Metro Center project in Owings Mills that will hold a large public library branch and the Owings Mills campus of the Community College of Baltimore County. That development is expected to open in 2013.