Greenberg Gibbons is taking the lead in developing the stalled $350 million Towson Row project as part of a joint partnership with the original developer Caves Valley Partners.
Greenberg Gibbons announced the partnership on Monday, breathing new life into the development at 28 W. Susquehanna Ave. that was hailed as a centerpiece of a building renaissance in downtown Towson when construction started roughly a year-and-a-half ago.
“We think it’s really going to be a spectacular transformational project for Towson. We think the location is fantastic, and we think we can develop, and execute a very, very high-end mixed-use project that will really be a new gateway into Towson,” Greenberg Gibbons CEO and Chairman Brian Gibbons said.
When Caves Valley Partners broke ground on the project in the fall of 2015 vertical construction was expected to start in a year, and delivery of the full project was anticipated in late 2018.
In its role as partner Greenberg Gibbons is expected to bring in institutional capital for the project. The firm estimates its cost for the project to be $270 million, exclusive of the student housing.
“Obviously it’s going to require a significant amount of equity capital, and we’ll bring one of our institutional capital partners with us to the project,” Gibbons said.
Under the agreement Greenberg Gibbons, which has been working with Caves Valley Partners for about 18 months, will spearhead the retail, hotel, residential and student housing portion of the project.
The company expects to build all of those portions except for the student housing, which will be constructed by a yet-to-be-determined third-party specializing in student housing. Caves Valley Partners is expected to develop the office portion of the project.
Plans for the project include more than 100,000 square feet of grocery and restaurant space, 150,000 square feet of Class A office space and 250 high-rise apartments. The development will also be home to the first Whole Foods location in Baltimore County.
Arthur Adler, a partner at Caves Valley Partners, did not respond to a request for comment on this story.
Councilman David Marks, who represents the area, called the announcement good news for the community. He praised Greenberg Gibbons’ engagement with the community in the lead-up to the $20 million overhaul of The Shops at Kenilworth.
“A project that has been stalled — for what, 15 months? — is now getting a new lease on life,” Marks said.
Caves Valley Partners celebrated the start of construction of the project in October 2015, after a groundbreaking ceremony was delayed because of bad weather.
Work on the site was halted following the discovery of a rock surface that prevented building an underground parking garage. At the time construction started Adler said the firm was aware there was bedrock but believed it could be handled by some minor blasting. But the discovery of a more solid rock base caused the project to be redesigned without subterranean parking.
Downtown Towson, buoyed by the burgeoning eponymous state university, has experienced a building boom in recent years. Developers have invested more than $1 billion in the area since 2010.
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz has said he wants to see the Baltimore County seat grow similar to the way Bethesda has grown in Montgomery County.