By Denise Koch

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s been a long time coming, but change is on the horizon for the old Northwood Plaza Shopping Center.

Ground has been broken on a $50 million redevelopment project that will serve the community and the students at nearby Morgan State University.

A bulldozer represents years of dreaming, hours of meetings, and tremendous cooperation between politicians, businesses, and community leaders.

The tired, partially empty, and failing Northwood Shopping Plaza is going to be transformed into 100,000 square feet of retail, office space, and restaurants to be called “Northwood Commons.”

A “who’s who” of local government was at the ground breaking, including the president of neighboring partner, Morgan State University.

“Today is the beginning of tomorrow for so many of us who have been waiting for decades and decades,” Dr. David Wilson said.

Northwood Commons will include a new office building for Morgan State, and a Barnes and Noble serving its students. It’s a historic change for what was, in the late 50s and 60s, a segregated shopping center.

“More than 400 Morgan students were arrested for trying to desegregate the Northwood theatre,” Dr. Wilson added. “They could see this location, but they could not experience it.”

But now this will be a new town center for Morgan State and for everyone in the surrounding communities.

“This morning gives me a ray of hope, and we need that ray of hope,” said Paula Purviance, who has lived in the neighborhood for almost 40 years.

Hope coming to the corner of Loch Raven Blvd. and Havenwood Rd.

“Each of us here today are looking forward to a grand shopping center that will be seen as an asset to the northeast community and to the city as a whole,” Purviance added.

The entire $50 million redevelopment project should be complete in 2020 or 2021.

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