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A Baltimore County councilman said a proposed redevelopment of Towson Circle could break ground in little more than two years, according to an early timeline. (The Daily Record/Maximilian Franz).

Massive Towson Circle redevelopment in the works

Retail Properties of America Inc. plans a major redevelopment of Towson Circle that would include up to 400 residential units in a high-rise tower and a hotel.

The owner of the shopping center, which includes Trader Joe’s, Barnes & Noble and Pier 1 Imports, wants to redevelop the project and include a massive residential component. The redevelopment was discussed during the company’s fourth quarter earnings call in February.

“As a result of the significant demand for retail, residential, and hotel square footage in this market, we believe we have an opportunity to replace today’s configuration with a high-rise tower that will include up to 400 residential units, a hotel component, and street-level retail that will be significantly more visible and accessible than what is in place today. We look forward to sharing additional details on these two exciting projects with you as we move through 2015,” Steve Grimes, the company’s president and CEO, said, according to a transcript of the call.

It’s unclear if the redevelopment will include the 8,838-square-foot property across Joppa Road that is currently home to Caribbean chain eatery Bahama Breeze.  A spokeswoman for the company said there were no further details about the project immediately available.

Councilman David Marks, who represents the area, said he has not been contacted by the developer and was previously unaware of the proposal. He also said that he does not believe the company has reached out to the community about the project.

“Obviously this could be a transformational project,” Marks said.

Fronda Cohen, a spokeswoman for Baltimore County, said no one from Retail Properties of America have approached them about a redevelopment proposal, but that Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz is looking forward to meeting them and discussing it.

Towson, the once sleepy suburban county seat, has been the focus of a great deal of investment in recent years. Currently the suburb just north of Baltimore is home to about 55,000 residents, and more than 56,000 people work at companies in the area such as the Greater Baltimore Medical Center, General Dynamics and Stanley Black & Decker.

It’s also home to Towson University, which has an undergraduate enrollment of 18,807.

According to figures from Baltimore County, there are 2,600 apartments and townhouses that have been completed or are in the development pipeline in Towson and about $1 billion in private investment downtown. That includes the $300 million Towson Row mixed-use complex is currently underway and the $85 million Towson Square development across Delaware Avenue from Towson Circle.

The downtown area has seen a much more urban style of development in recent years that makes it easier for residents to walk to stores and restaurants. In the past, Kamenetz, only partly kidding, has said that Bethesda has served as the model for the type of development he wants to see take place in Towson.

About Adam Bednar

Adam Bednar covers real estate and development for The Daily Record.