A major stretch of the much-maligned area of north Odenton could be slated for redevelopment under a new plan presented by the landowner Tuesday night.
The owner of a 5.25 acre plot just to the north of the Royal Farm store in Odenton said he is prepared to completely demolish existing buildings and construct 21,800 square feet of new retail space, plus some second-floor offices. At least three additional new buildings could house small restaurants and a car wash.
"I went back to my guys and I said 'look, we're going to have to spend some money and we're going to have to put something on paper that is aesthetically pleasing,'" said Frank Smith, a representative of the Gardner family, which spent seven years acquiring nine different properties.
The Odenton Town Center Plan Oversight Committee recommended approval of a sketch plan for the property, which is currently home to a strip shopping center that includes the Troy's Soul Food restaurant, a barbershop, other stores. The Praise Hair Salon and a Caribbean specialty store were also tenants until recently and there are other vacant spaces.
The property also includes a now-vacant plot of land and the Arundel Arcade building.
Smith said he is in active negotiations with potential tenants for the new project, but no leases have been signed.
"We have several retailers that are already at the door," he said.
The Anne Arundel County Office of Planning and Zoning will review the sketch plan next and has the final say on whether the project can move forward.
Members of the town center committee said the proposal was a major step toward the revitalization of the north Odenton section often referred to as "Boomtown."
"It's very exciting to see movement in north Odenton, and to see a project of that kind of quality taking out buildings that are absolutely eyesores," said Claire Louder, president of the West Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce. "Though they have functional businesses, this is an opportunity. And there's no reason that those business could not choose to move into the [new space.]"
Smith and committee members said this new project could spur further redevelopment of the north Odenton area.
"Our feeling is that by doing this, the property next door, which has about four acres, will do something," Smith said. "I can't imagine someone isn't going to jump."