Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The History of the Proposed Walgreens Site

Walgreens proposal to build a new pharmacy on the site of the former BB&T bank branch site at the corner of Thunder Hill Road and Rouse Parkway has become another battleground for the forces opposing change in Howard County. Not surprisingly, those same forces are spreading misinformation about the site.

For example, in a posting on the Howard County Citizens Association listserv, Bridget Mugane wrote that “Jim Rouse's plan left the site quietly suburban.”

Not quite true Bridget. The original plan for the Twin Knolls Business Park, which includes the Walgreens site, called for a total of 350,000 square feet of commercial space. When The Rouse Company sold this 2.6 acre parcel to Elkridge National Bank in the early eighties, they were disappointed when the bank announced that they only planned to put a 2,000 square foot branch on the site. The site has a capacity for at least 18,000 square feet of commercial space and the company felt that this was a missed opportunity to make a “statement” at this highly visible intersection.

Over the years, as the bank changed from Elkridge National to FCNB and finally BB&T various scenarios were floated to redevelop the site, with and without the banks participation. In many ways, the Walgreens store is the final realization of The Rouse Company’s true plan for this site.


Anonymous said...

I agree that something should be done on that site, however Is Walgreen's an appropriate use. It seems to me that the Walgreen's wuld be a better fit in the Village Center, while an office building, medical building, etc. would be a better use for the lot.

macsmom said...

We may wish for a Walgreen's at the Village Center, but the reality is that Walgreen's does not want to be there. I live on Thunder Hill Road and will be thrilled to have a Walgreen's on my street instead of a boarded-up, abandoned business!

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:45,

After all these years of seeing this lot sit vacant and blighted, why didn't any of the activist fringe elements in oakland mills seek to change the permitted uses on the land?

Bob O said...

Why not have a referendum? Let the people decide?

Seriously, I know nothing about this site. Sounds like a traffic nightmare, though.

Anonymous said...

Because referenda rights have been repeatedly quashed by elected county council members, so that's out of the question. Walgreen's knows they'll win, I don't even know why WB spends any time on the subject.

And why harp on Mugane over and over? Name the last time she had an impact on a council decision that you, WB, opposed.

Anonymous said...

A Walgreens on that site means an increased access to prescriptions and other daily necessities. It will be a walkable alternative for the local residents and it is open 24 hours a day. This means convienience, jobs, and access to something that previously you had to get in the car and drive for.

cmb said...

Yes, it's been nice of the owner of the property to supply us with lovely trees and "open space"(i.e. an empty parking lot)all these years, but seriously folks, it is a commercial site. If not Walgreen's, what then? Maybe the opponents could hold a bake sale to raise $ to buy it from the owner and make it a community park!

Anonymous said...

How about fulfilling the intention of a corporate office/hotel park instead of forcing a retail pharmacy/convenience store that will drain shoppers from the struggling village center?

It's too bad that Walgreen's doesn't respect the long standing development ideals of Columbia's village centers.

When will the gov't stand up to those who want to make a quick buck at the expense of the community?

Anonymous said...

The sooner the better...a Walgreens will be a great addition at this location.

As someone who works off Twin Knolls.... the best thing that can be done to help the village center is a big, bright Food Lion sign on 175 that directs people to the village center. 95% of the people who drive within 1 mile of the village center, have no idea it's there.