Sollers group releases more details of North Point plan
Wednesday, 15 May 2013 13:06

Plan envisions “big box” store

by Ben Boehl

    In mid-April, Sollers  Investors LLC released the details of its proposal to bring retail to the North Point Government Center site and move all recreational programs and athletic fields at the site to the former Seagram’s distillery site on Sollers Point Road.
    John Vontran, owner of the former Seagram’s property, is associated with the Sollers group that also includes brothers Jeff and Mark Powers.
    Vontran contacted The Eagle last week to give a more detailed explanation of the plan.

    If the proposal is accepted, Sollers would take over the Government Center site, demolish the building and turn the vacant lot and fields into a retail site.
    Retail at the Government Center site was also proposed by Vanguard Retail Property Development, the only other bidder for the site.
    Vontran said his plan would better serve the community with the addition of a “bog box” store.
    “I don’t think (the Vanguard plan) gives the community what it needs. It gives the community [more small] retail,” he noted, referring to Vanguard’s proposal for six or seven small retail pads on the site.
    Sollers believes the Dundalk area is underserved and said the corner would have an upscale design that would attract a larger anchor tenant because of the large site and the entrances that can be placed on both Merritt Boulevard and Wise Avenue.     
    “This is the only site in all of Dundalk that is suitable to accommodate large-scale retailers,” Vontran said. “Now is the time to embrace the opportunity to bring these uses to Dundalk.”
    Vontran pointed to Loew’s and Kohl’s as examples of the quality large-scale tenant that could be interested in the site, and compared the location to retail centers in the White Marsh area.
    “Not only will this use please existing Dundalk residents who will be able to shop and eat well in their own neighborhood, but we also think this will help attract new buyers and renters to Dundalk,” Vontran said. “Because they will now see it as a desirable location with convenient amenities close at hand.”
    Under the Sollers Investors plan, all of the recreational programs now located at the North Point site would move to the Seagram’s property. Vontran said he has plans to demolish all the buildings on the Seagram’s parcel.
    “We are in the process. We will get it clean soon,” Vontran said.
    “If we are the successful bidders, we are going to jump right on it.”    
    If the plan is accepted, Sollers would build  a new 21,000-square-foot recreation center, which is required by Baltimore County’s Request for Proposal (RFP).
    The new  recreation center building would contain an auditorium for multipurpose use with 30-by-50-foot stage and seating for 300 to 400 people, an indoor soccer field including stadium seating for over 100 spectators, a wrestling facility and a concession area that would be accessible from both inside and outside.
    “It’s a major investment into our community, and there is no county money being used,” Vontran explained.
    The outside would include two brand new grass fields that can be configured in a number of ways to accommodate full length fields for soccer, lacrosse, field hockey and four baseball/softball diamonds as well as smaller fields for youth sports.   
    Also a court would be constructed for basketball, street hockey and other sports.
    “I think it gives a whole fresh new start. It gives the community the retail it deserves and the rec. center at Seagram’s property would blend in with the Yorkway Development and the new high schools,” Vontran added.