Reporting Gigi Barnett
TOWSON, Md. (WJZ)– Downtown Towson has been hit hard by the economic decline. But it’s about to get a big boost with a brand new multi-million dollar development.
Gigi Barnett explains the plan to bring businesses back to the area.
Baltimore County said it is called Towson Circle III and it is expected to bring more customers and jobs to the county seat.
Several large stores and entertainment venues shut down in Towson. Vacant and abandoned, the Towson Commons Theaters was once a bright spot in Towson.
A sluggish economy hit it hard and the theater closed last year.
“Every time I went, it was empty or it was never any movies that I wanted to see or anything like that,” Carissa Veath said.
But Friday, county leaders broke out the popcorn to celebrate the unveiling of this: a new multi-million dollar entertainment center– developed by the Cordish Company– in the heart of Towson.
“We deserve the finest in our county seat and I think that’s what we’re going to get in this project,” Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said.
Kamenetz says the new theaters take up about four acres with 16 state-of-the-art screens and large parking garage attached. It will ultimately create more than 1,500 jobs.
The project had been in the works for years, but stalled. Now, the Cordish Company says it’s time to build it despite a slow economy.
“We think it’s a terrific time. Our country needs more going on right now. We need the jobs. We think that the market’s there,” Blake Cordish, vice president of the Cordish Company, said.
So far, five restaurants have already signed on to the $85 million project. Some Towson business owners say this is just what the area needs.
“I’m hoping that Towson grows and becomes revitalized, goes back to what it used to be 30 years ago,” James Kahn said.
Kahn opened his restaurant– S&J Crab Ranch — three months ago. It’s right across the street from the old Towson Commons. He says the traffic to and from the theater will draw more customers to him.
“We need more businesses in Towson. More other businesses offering different things,” Kahn said.
Kamenetz is calling this a coup for Towson because Cinemark Theaters has signed on to manage the complex. Meanwhile, the Cordish Company said they will break ground in the next few months.
The new theater complex opens in 2014.