UPDATE (Oct. 5, 11 a.m.)—County Councilman David Marks planned a public meeting with area business owners, government officials and Perry Hall Square Shopping Center representatives at 5 p.m. Tuesday at the Perry Hall Elementary School library.
Gregory H. Reed, assistant director for Kimco Realty, which owns the center, focused his remarks on plans for bringing in new tenants. He also emphasized that the center has no plans for major redevelopment and will not be torn down in the near future.
Reed said he expects about 10,000 square feet of the vacant shopping center lots to be filled by the end of the year. Some lots will be combined to accommodate larger retail tenants, he said.
He added that the former Superfresh location would likely be replaced by a "first class" chain grocery store, although a formal lease agreement had not been arranged yet. Reed said the location would probably not be filled with a Trader Joe's, Weis, Safeway or Giant.
Dave Barsotti, a Perry Hall resident who often goes bowling at the center's Brunswick location, said he was glad to hear about plans for bringing in new tenants.
"At least you know there are some solid ideas for what is going to happen at the center. It's not going to be torn down," Barsotti said.
Joe Palmer, a physical therapist at the center's Active Life and Sports, said he understands why some new businesses would choose newer shopping centers over Perry Hall Square.
"You look at all the new [shopping centers] popping up. People want to go there because they look better," Palmer said.
He added that he was glad to hear from Reed that Kimco was planning on repairing the center's roof.
The following live updates were recorded throughout the meeting:
Fewer than 50 people are in attendance at the meeting. Seating is scarce in the elementary school library.
Kimco Realty representative: By the end of the year, the Superfresh box will be leased and we'll be able to announce who will be there. By the summer, they'll be open.
Attendee: What do you envision for the shopping center?
Kimco Realty representative: Five years ago, we tried to get a big box, like a Target, in the shopping center. ... It's very tough because of the location along the Route 1 corridor, because it's halfway between White Marsh and Towson.
He then spoke about trying to get a major anchor tenant that would draw other tenants, like a Giant or other major grocery store.
Attendee: The center has never been very friendly to the community.
When the Perry Hall Fair first started, they actually called the police to keep people from parking on that lot. Could it not cooperate with the community for one day?
Kimco Realty representative said that would have to be coordinated with individual stores, but the center would consider hosting the fair.
Attendee: We're owners of a hair salon in the shopping center ... it's not an attractive place to come to. It could use a face lift. It's even dangerous. A woman walking near the Rite Aid tripped and busted her face open.
Kimco Realty representative said he would speak to someone about it.
Attendee: Could we do something with the front signage?
Kimco Realty representative said they have been looking at getting new signage.
Marks: People are always asking about whether or not a Trader Joe's could come to Perry Hall.
Kimco Realty representative said that they will not build one in this area, because they believe people will drive quite a while to get there. He said he can't even get his mother a Trader Joe's in Bel Air.
Attendee: Will Gino's come to the center?
Marks: It will be opening after the first of year, probably closer to the Honeygo area.
Attendee: What about locations further south on Belair Road? What is their status?
Kimco Realty representative said K-Mart and Giant in Overlea are both likely here to stay.
Attendee: Is there any interest from Baltimore County to have government offices in unused Perry Hall Square space?
Kimco Realty representative said no.
Marks: That would have been more of an option when the county had more money.
Attendee: How proactive is Kimco about getting more businesses into the shopping center ... like Subway or Einstein Bagel?
Kimco Realty representative: We send out several mailers ... we do try to get it out. We're going to be merging with a national broker to try to get our name out.
Attendee: It sounds like you probably don't have plans to renovate the center, but what about the parking lot?
Kimco Realty representative: It all comes out of the capital budget.
He added that he would consider it.
Attendee: Any plans to convert all of that parking into more shopping? Maybe a commuter spot for buses?
Kimco Realty representative: According to Baltimore County, we don't have extra parking.
Marks: We're looking into having that changed.
Kimco Realty representative: But a commuter lot also brings a lot of things we don't want ... cars staying overnight, theft, etc.
Marks: This is the third meeting we've held. Please sign up on the sign-in sheet to learn more about future activities.
Marks: Can we get a show of hands of merchants who would be interested in having a merchants association to do cleanups twice a year?
About six people raised their hands.
Attendee: People underestimate people's income out here. There is money here. They underestimate what is here in Perry Hall. I just want you to know, if you're talking to a tenant, tell them, there is money here.
Kimco Realty representative: I think we'll have 10,000 square feet leased up by the end of the year.