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Solo Cup plant demolition starting

Demolition of the former Solo Cup plant in Owings Mills is set to begin in earnest Thursday morning as controversy over a new development there gives way to a future Wegmans.

Plans for the site of the plant in Owings Mills feature a Wegmans as the anchor store, along with restaurants, retailers and office space.

Officials of Greenberg Gibbons, one of the developers of the 52-acre site along with Vanguard Equities, said Monday they plan to “celebrate” the first steps of demolition at the site located at Painters Mill and Reisterstown roads.

The planned $140 million redevelopment, to be called Foundry Row, will include a Wegmans supermarket as an anchor store as well as restaurants and smaller retailers and office space totaling 425,000 square feet.

The project, though, has been a point of contention with some in the community and another developer nearby, Howard Brown, who have fought for a year and a half to derail it.

Opponents launched an aggressive petition drive last year in an attempt to get comprehensive zoning changes made by the Baltimore County Council sent to voter referendum. That attempt, however, failed after executives at the county’s Board of Elections ruled earlier this year that such a referendum was not legal.

Foundry Row is one of a number of new developments in Owings Mills that some say is moving the area forward after years of stagnated growth.

The $500 million Metro Centre is being developed by Brown about two miles away from the Solo Cup site, and Stevenson University has expanded to a new campus about five miles away from the Solo site. Owners of the failed Owings Mills Mall have also said they planned to raze and rebuild the center to make it more user-friendly.

Brown, president of David S. Brown Enterprises Ltd., has bitterly fought the Foundry Row development over the past year and a half, saying it would pose competition to his Metro Centre project and cause traffic nightmares in the community. Metro Centre, which will hold 300,000 square feet of retail, 1.2 million square feet of office space, a hotel and 1,700 apartment units when fully built out, is also home to a new Baltimore County Public Library branch and a branch of the Community College of Baltimore County.

Nevertheless, Greenberg Gibbons has started internal demolition at the plant and is pushing forward with the development.

The demolition work is set to begin Thursday at 11 a.m.