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Charles Village Residents Oppose Possible New Grocer

Residents spoke with representatives from Johns Hopkins University and developer Armada Hoffler about the Olmsted lot plans.

Charles Village residents told representatives from Johns Hopkins University, and its developer, they don’t want a grocery store as part of a project at the Olmsted lot because it would compete with the locally owned Eddie’s Market of Charles Village.

On Tuesday night, Johns Hopkins held its first community meeting about the proposed mixed-use development, which would be built on a vacant lot it owns at 33rd and St. Paul streets, and tried to assure residents there are no concrete plans to include a grocery store in the project.

"We don’t have a contract for any kind of development at this time," said Alan Fish, Johns Hopkins vice president for real estate and campus services.

Residents in the communities near the proposed development have been concerned since it was first reported last month the developer is interested in including a full service grocery store at the project that would compete with Eddie’s Market.

During the meeting at Sts. Philip and James Catholic Church, residents took advantage of the forum to publicly express their outrage that the university would even consider bringing in a national grocery chain.

"If you did put a grocer in the 3200 block [of St. Paul St.], what would you do with the big hole where Eddie used to be?" Beth Bullamore said. "This community wants to control its own life." 

Residents also said that whatever is built on that lot, Johns Hopkins and the developers need the community’s support for the project to be successful. 

"If you really want a partnership, then it takes two to tango, and not just an 800 pound gorilla jumping on a steam roller and heading down the road," Ralph Moore said.  

Employees from Eddie’s Market also attended the meeting and told developers how much working in the community means to them, and their fear that a grocer at the new development would put them out of work.

"It’s a special place. It’s like being in Mayberry—you know everybody," said Ron Fader, a manager at Eddie’s.  

But opposition to a proposed grocery store at the building wasn’t universal.

Melissa Bristow said she moved to the community three years ago because it was a bustling place, but has been disappointed by a lack of development in the area largely because of sluggish economy. She said that she would support anything that helped the project come to fruition—even a grocery store.

"I can appreciate and fully understand needing an anchor tenant at this property," Bristow said. 

Representatives from Johns Hopkins and Armada Hoffler, the project’s developer, told residents nothing regarding tenants has been decided, but wouldn’t rule out including a grocery store.

"We’ve spoke with grocery chains. Do we have anything signed? Have we decided to do anything? No," said Tony Nero, president of development for Armada Hoffler.

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Judy Berlin March 13, 2013 at 08:45 PM
Hopkins already owns it. Last I heard they are not going to sell it.
Seal Team 2 March 13, 2013 at 09:24 PM
I agree we dont need more outside traffic. all though I would love a Traders Joes we just need more services and shops and PARKING for the folks who live and work hear now.
Seal Team 2 March 13, 2013 at 09:28 PM
Here's a thought. has anyone ever thought of or heard of in the past if the city ever had a plan were a city only resident could by a parking meter permit for say $100.00 a year that would exclude them from ever having to drop quarters in a meter. I may not spend a hundred in meters per year but I have spent it in parking tickets cause I run over my time by a minute or two at least twice a year cause im short on change.
Gordon Steen March 14, 2013 at 01:24 AM
Great place for a children's playground to attract more families to Charles Village.
Judy Berlin March 14, 2013 at 01:37 AM
city can't make any money that way. multiply your tickets by 100 and so on and the city get rich.
Judy Berlin March 14, 2013 at 01:38 AM
There's a small playground at wyman pk. small one on e 32nd st between guildford and abel
Baltimore Matt March 14, 2013 at 02:36 AM
So what Judy...if someone is willing to pay the millions of dollars to get another grocery store off the ground, so be it...last time I checked it's THEIR money and not YOURS. Baltimore is known as having a poor business climate and one of those reasons is the opposition by communities when it comes to ANY business opening or ANY corporate investment. However everyone complains that their is no/little work for the lesser educated and the younger people and we wonder why they stand on our corners and sell drugs and be general nuisances to our neighborhoods. Grocery stores employ allot of people, usually for a decent wage, many of those jobs have at least some fringe benefits. If they want to invest and build 10 grocery stores, then let them. As a consumer, having competition in the market keeps businesses on their toes which is a good thing. Businesses come and go based on their success in the market and if Eddy's or Giant or Safeway is not up to the task, then let them fail.
Baltimore Matt March 14, 2013 at 02:38 AM
Judy, you just don't want to see anything there...where I am from it's called being an obstructionist
Seal Team 2 March 14, 2013 at 12:59 PM
Yeah, I think there is adequate park space in the erea, and the super park play ground behind the YMCA.
Judy Berlin March 14, 2013 at 01:29 PM
Balto Matt. This is my community and I will obstruct as i see fit. Besides I have a lot of excellent obstructionist company. Where do you live?
T.Millspaugh March 14, 2013 at 04:19 PM
there are two major grocery stores in the area (w/in walking distance ) already. Not counting Eddies. At least one more that is not too far - and several small markets and a large farmers market - It is totally unnecessary, and actually, probabaly harmful to introduce another. If the residents cant protect their community, no one else will. Yes it is about money...which includes ours. As it pertains to livability, property values, and how we choose to spend it.
Baltimore Matt March 14, 2013 at 07:24 PM
I currently live in Remington, however, I spent 7 years living at the corner of St. Paul and 33rd Street and given the proximity of where I currently reside, I would be served well by a grocery store at that corner, especially since the Safeway on 25th Street as well as the Waverly Giant are poorly run. I would encourage any large private investment in this city, even in my own backyard. However, obstructionists like yourself have no good ideas that they share but plenty of "no" to go around. Obstructionists drag anyone who wants to have a business, investment, or manifest any idea involving land through the mud of the hearing process and court system and tie them up for years which will either lead to them finally getting their permit or giving up on the process all together (because they don't see it as advantageous to spend years and thousands of dollars litigating before they can open shop). I guess many obstructionist are independently wealth and don’t have jobs or anywhere to be during the day because they somehow can afford to be at all of the hearings downtown, file petitions, and be at court during the hours when most people have to work. The community sometimes gets behind them for whatever reason, but they wonder why they have to leave Baltimore to buy many of the products affordably that are associated with modern day living (I couldn’t tell you how many Trader Joe’s and Wegman’s bags are sitting curbside to be picked up in Baltimore on recycling day)
Seal Team 2 March 14, 2013 at 07:36 PM
Hey Matt, I bet judy has enough money to pay $15.00 for a $3.00 bag of mulch at Ace hardware so she is probably one of the obstructionist that caused so much grief for the Walmart/lowes project that lowes Bailed, and now I have to drive to timonium becuase i cant afford to shop in my own neighbor hood. but I do go to Faulkners in hampden for my small items.
Seal Team 2 March 14, 2013 at 07:38 PM
and I bet the workers at lowes in timonium dont live in waverly or charles villiage or remmington so if i cant afford to support my local stores than I cant support my local workers but that doesnt matter to her she has plenty of money and doesnt need a job.
T.Millspaugh March 14, 2013 at 09:04 PM
(seal team and Balto Matt) You folks are real nimrods. Hard to take any of what you say seriously, when the bulk of it is rediculous nonsense, silly speculation and juvenile insults.
Judy Berlin March 14, 2013 at 09:14 PM
You guys are funny. Put a smile on my obstructionist face.
a.h.s. boy March 14, 2013 at 10:05 PM
I was pleased to hear someone at the meeting mention that Harbor East -- clearly a model (or at least inspiration) for what the developers hope to achieve in Charles Village -- didn't feel "real." It doesn't. Sure, there are some nice restaurants down there, and the movie theater is a bonus, but christ, I wouldn't want to live there. And who in the hell would want to raise their kids there? Where are the parks? Where are the schools? It's a yuppie paradise, but you can bet that the minute those tenants start a family, they're moving out to the country, and leaving a pricey, artificial hole on the harbor. I don't have any hard statistics, but I still think that Hampden's Avenue is a better model. They have virtually no chain stores (7-eleven and Royal Farms being the only ones I can think of), and a vibrant and apparently thriving local business community. A dozen decent restaurants (Grano, Golden West, Holy Frijoles, Suzy's Soba, The Food Market, etc), great shops (Trohv, Ma Petite Shoe, Atomic Books, Minàs Gallery, Paradiso), coffee shops (Common Ground, Spro), services (NV Salon Collective, Sprout, Kiss 'n' Make Up, Falkenhan's, Sirkis hardware, yoga studios, real estate offices, etc) -- virtually all of which are locally owned and operated. No "anchor stores." No supermarket. No parking garage. No Gap, no Old Navy, no Walmart, no Urban Outfitters.
a.h.s. boy March 14, 2013 at 10:05 PM
... And yet Hampden seems to be doing well. And when locally-owned businesses like Cloud 9 clothing (formerly of the 3200 block of St. Paul St) can't afford the rent in Charles Village, they find a home in Hampden. Maybe Chipotle and Starbucks and a half-dozen crappy college food places don't generate the "critical mass" needed to keep Cloud 9 (or the stationary store, or Gaga's ice cream shop...) around, but I'm pretty sure that pulling in a bunch of national chain stores will do little more than drive up rent prices and turn our village into the same commercial space found in 1000 other cities where developers are building the same generic faux neighborhoods over and over again. And I'm sure it comes down to money. I mean, of course I want our commercial space to be successful, but if the cost of BUILDING it is so expensive that the definition of "sucessful" becomes so expensive that no local business owner can afford it, then you've taken a step backwards. I find it hard to believe that developers are incapable of finding a way to create new structures that aren't prohibitively expensive, pricing out the local entrepreneurs.
Seal Team 2 March 14, 2013 at 10:25 PM
I cant agree more A.S.H. Boy. I currently have a business in a strip mall were the land lord has rent priced several long term good localy owned neghbor hood businesses out of business. and keeps trying to fill the spaces with new businesses that are start ups that dont know how to properly vet there cost structures and they have closed in the first year. ITS CALLED RICH GREEDY BASTARDS. not happy with a little they want it all. They want to bleed this country and its people for all there worth. they wont be happy until .001% owns 99.99% of the country. There still trying to figure out how to monopolize the air we breathe. If they keep it up one day a Revolution is going Creep up on them.
Seal Team 2 March 14, 2013 at 10:26 PM
Can you say "Mitt Romney".
Baltimore Matt March 15, 2013 at 12:19 AM
T. Millspaugh...I am serious, the NIMBY obstructionist residents along with the business tax structure has made Baltimore into an unattractive and poor business climate with high unemployment and few local options for purchasing many items needed for proper quality living...If you don't believe me, try getting a fair and competitive deal with plenty of selection inside the city purchasing new large appliances or new cars or consumer quantities of heavy building materials (not truck loads and not hardware), etc... just about every time that search ends out in the suburbs...
Baltimore Matt March 15, 2013 at 12:24 AM
ahs boy, you talk about how people mentioned the Harbor East development, however I would like to add that Harbor East's success will be short lived and artificial since the area has huge temporary tax cuts and a streamlined review process which has lead to a investment. I will bet that once those tax breaks expire and they return to standard property and personal property tax rates, Harbor East will loose is sparkle.
Able Baker March 15, 2013 at 01:03 PM
There is a supermarket, it's just not on the Avenue. If you want a stretch of locally owned businesses, Howard Street between 25th and 27th is shaping up to be more like Hampden than St. Paul Street is. There's the Ottobar, Charmington's, the future site of the Single Carrot Theatre, Meet27 and Sweet Sin.
Able Baker March 15, 2013 at 01:03 PM
"You folks are real nimrods. Hard to take any of what you say seriously, when the bulk of it is rediculous nonsense, silly speculation and juvenile insults." Oh irony.
Able Baker March 15, 2013 at 01:25 PM
The problem is that Eddie's is overpriced and doesn't have great selection. The prepared foods counter is pretty good, but it's not nearly as good as the Eddie's in Roland Park.
Able Baker March 15, 2013 at 01:30 PM
I assume she's talking about Safeway, which is generally pretty terrible. Long lines, poor selection, below average produce. As opposed to Eddie's which just has poor selection and below average produce.
Seal Team 2 March 15, 2013 at 01:30 PM
Yep Eddies is overpriced. Thats why i dont shop there and when I want eddies prepaired I also go to roland park.
Able Baker March 15, 2013 at 01:47 PM
That's a lot of predictions based on very little evidence. Eddie's would lose business, but there's no reason people wouldn't walk to a new grocery store. That site is in no way similar to Towson Commons, whose anchor was a book store and a movie theatre, and isn't in a residential area.
Able Baker March 15, 2013 at 01:50 PM
Yes, the 1980s called and they want to know where our Cajun restaurant is.
Rodney C Burris March 19, 2013 at 02:31 AM
I am very interested in this development. At the present, it is not serving us at all; it is a fenced off piece of grass. For the parking, I would not particular like a grocer there. However, a ton of other boutique shops would be great. We could recreate our own version of The Avenue (Hampden) or Cross Street (federal hill), with a unique CV twist. -- Even a really nice restuarant would be good, granted we had the free parking to match. I too was hesitant when the RoFo was torn down, and the florist/uni-mini bldg was demolished. But I must say, this new St Paul street is quite nice. I believe good can come out of this development -RCB www.RodneyBurris.com

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