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$300 million redevelopment planned for Towson

The $300 million Towson Row, a private redevelopment of the area’s central core, will feature about 200,000 square feet of Class A office space, a 200-room hotel, more than 100,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, including an “upscale grocery store,” and 300 student housing units.

The plans for the project, on nearly an entire block between Towsontown Boulevard, Chesapeake Avenue and York Road, across from the Baltimore County Public Library, were revealed Wednesday. Construction is expected to begin in 2015.

The 1-million-square-foot project will be developed and owned by Towson-based Caves Valley Partners. Acquisition of the 15 small businesses that occupy space in that area has been underway for nearly five years, said Athan Sunderland, principal of Pinkard Properties, of Brooklandville, which acquired the land and sold it to Caves Valley.

Towson Row is the latest in a string of large developments planned for the county seat. They include a $60 million mixed-use development with 200 student apartments and retail one block south at Burke Avenue and York Road to be called 101 York, the $85 million Towson Square project, which will hold eight restaurants and a 3,400-seat Cinemark Theatre, and Towson Green, a 160-unit townhouse development by The Bozzuto Group, also off Burke Avenue.

“There’s been $600 million of private investment in downtown Towson over the past three years. That’s progress,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.

The area has more than 55,000 residents and 56,000 workers, Kamenetz said, as well as students from Towson University and Goucher College.

“A great county seat deserves a great downtown,” he said at a press conference Wednesday. “This plan will turn five acres of underutilized properties in downtown Towson into an urban centerpiece.”

The design, yet to be finalized and subject to county zoning and planning regulations and public hearings, calls for a series of high rises and a 1,000-space parking garage at the site where several small businesses exist today. Developer Arthur Adler, principal of Caves Valley Partners, compared the final product to a similar renewal project in Bethesda and Harbor East on the city’s waterfront.

“We believe in downtown Towson,” Adler said.

Adler estimated the project would ultimately generate $2 million each year in new tax revenue for the county. He emphasized that no public subsidies or tax breaks would be used to build Towson Row.

“This is the private sector recognizing downtown Towson’s strengths and potential as a great place to live, work and play,” said County Councilman David Marks, whose 4th District includes Towson.

Caves Valley Partners last year completed a $27 million project to gut and renovate the former Investment Building in Towson, renamed Towson City Center.

Earlier this week, the group helped open another partnership project in Owings Mills, the expanded extension center of the Community College of Baltimore County at Metro Centre.

Caves Valley executives are also partners in Baltimore’s new Horseshoe Casino, owned by Caesars Entertainment Corp., which broke ground last month off Russell Street.