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Rotunda Owners Communicate with Trader Joe's

Chris Bell, senior vice president of Hekemian and Co., said "everybody is interested" in opening a Rotunda location.

Chris Bell, senior vice president of Hekemian and Co., the company that owns the Rotunda, said he’s had conversations with just about every grocery chain—including one very popular choice—about opening a store at that location.

“We have strong interest from a number of grocery chains,” Bell said. “Pretty much everybody is interested.”

Bell, during a meeting with the Roland Park Civic League Thursday night, said that he’s had conversations with Trader Joe’s about the Rotunda location.

“I’ve talked to Trader Joe’s three times already,” Bell said.

Giant Foods, who have had a grocery store at the Rotunda since the late 1960s, down 41st Street to the Green Spring Tower Shopping Center in April. The move leaves the Rotunda without a grocery store.

Now Hekemian plans to move forward with a renovation of the Rotunda. Previously Hekemian planned to do a massive overhaul of the shopping center that included a 22-story tower and a larger expanded Giant store in the current parking lot.

After Giant announced its plans to leave the Rotunda, Hekemian and Design Collective have redesigned the redevelopment of the Rotunda without the 22-story tower or the 68,000 square foot grocery store in the parking lot.

In fact, part of the agreement to let Giant out of its lease—which the store still had options on for the next 20 years—limits Hekemian to only opening a 20,000 square foot grocery store on the site. Bell said the Fresh Market, at 2510 Quarry Lake Drive, is an example of a grocery store about that size.

Bell said the current plan still involves building a mix of one, two and three bedroom market rate apartments as part of the redevelopment. He said he feels there is a strong market for apartments in the area.

"We think there's an empty nester market here in Roland Park," Bell said.

But it would be at least three years before the $150 million redevelopment of the Rotunda would be finished, Bell said. The company hopes to break ground on the project next year.

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Dunk April 09, 2012 at 03:48 PM
tear the whole thing down and put up baige-sided town houses.

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