Long-vacant Diamond Point Plaza site to go to auction
Wednesday, 31 October 2012 11:51

Future to be determined on Friday morning

 by Ben Boehl

    For those who are sick of looking at the vacant Diamond Point Plaza shopping center by the Beltway, good news could be on the way.
    An auction is scheduled for the vacant property, located on Eastern Avenue  just west of the Back River bridge, on Friday, Nov. 2, at 11 a.m.
    According to the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation, the Diamond Point complex was built in 1990.    
    It was thriving in the early ‘90s with the PACE Membership Warehouse, (which eventually merged and became Sam’s Club), Ames Department Store and a strip of stores that included Homestyle Buffet, Chuck E. Cheese and other businesses.
    A Roy Rogers fast-food store also operated in a separate retail pad.

The shopping center started to decline when Sam’s Club moved from its location to the new Rosedale shopping center at the old Golden Ring Mall location in 2002 and when the Ames closed as the national chain was closing most of its stores across the country.
    The rest of the tenants in the 253,000-square-foot shopping center followed, except for Chuck E. Cheese which remains open.
    According to the website of the Alex Cooper Auctioneers, the company handling the auction, Chuck E. Cheese is leasing its space on a month-to-month basis.
    The 26-acre site is zoned as BR-CCC, which allows for general industrial and retail uses.
    With many empty retail stores in the area, what will happen to Diamond Point if a retail-oriented bidder can’t be found?
    Attempts to contact an Alex Cooper representative for comment were unsuccessful.    
    However; Del. John Olszewski, Jr. reiterated his longstanding suggestion for the shopping center in a column in The Eagle last week.
    Olszewski said that whenever social services such as homeless shelters are recommended to be placed in residential and commercial areas, there is community resistance. He believes that Diamond Point would be an ideal location to provide social services since it is removed from commerce and residential housing.
    “Diamond Point’s substantial space could allow for multiple services to be provided there, including the type of services envisioned by Hosanna House [the men’s housing  project proposed for Edgemere],” Olszewski wrote.  
    “Under this scenario, rather than simply providing shelter from homelessness, individuals receiving shelter would have access to effective job training and counseling services all in one location.”