GREENBELT – Greenway shopping center’s owner is planning a major redevelopment, but city council members remain skeptical about the plans. Combined Properties Inc. (CPI), which owns the shopping center located near the intersection of Greenbelt Road and Hanover Parkway plans to build a new, 5,200-square- foot retail facility and create a new entryway to the […]
GREENBELT – Greenway shopping center’s owner is planning a major redevelopment, but city council members remain skeptical about the plans.
Combined Properties Inc. (CPI), which owns the shopping center located near the intersection of Greenbelt Road and Hanover Parkway plans to build a new, 5,200-square- foot retail facility and create a new entryway to the shopping center.
Part of the company’s design overhaul includes providing bus access to the parking lot, which Mayor Emmett Jordan encouraged.
“The reality of this metropolitan area is that it was growing along with transportations issues which have been important to success for the last decade or so,” Jordan said. “In fact, if all of the Greenbelt buses could stop in front of the center that would be a tremendous advantage.”
Jordan emphasized public transportation had been key to development projects in Greenbelt, where, he said, almost any city bus can deliver residents to shopping centers.
Holly Haley, vice president of CPI, said long-term impacts of buses on the parking lot pavement could be a serious deterrent to the mayor’s request.
“The way buses operate and particularly their weight they take on the parking lot is tremendously different from what the car will do,” she said. “It’s all about ingress, egress and other things which require different commitment. Long-term impact of buses being on the parking lot is costly. My opinion, at this point, is that this won’t be something we’ll be doing anytime soon. It requires a lot of money and a different commitment.”
The Council also discussed the new facility CPI proposed.
The building, according to the company’s concept plan submitted to the city earlier this year, would be a freestanding structure located in front of the existing shopping center, which CPI has owned for about 25 years.
Although CPI could not confirm what retail business would occupy the place, Greg Hull, CPI’s leasing representative, said they received commitment from a tenant to take the space, otherwise they would not be as far down the road as they are.
Council members expressed concern about the business that may be coming.
“I hope the tenant who will occupy the building won’t be another fast food chain or a bank because we have a lot of those in the area,” said Mayor Pro Tem Judith Davis. “So I expect something different.”
Councilman Edward Putens asked about the change of the main entry to the center.
“Our civil engineer said that would be something the city would really like,” said Andrew Marusak, vice president for construction. “He has done a traffic study in other locations and determined that this provides a better flow of the traffic. It alleviates congestion by moving primary access point a little bit.”
Davis said she was concerned about new glass window installation in the center facilities and signage which, she said, might make the shopping center ugly.
“The problem with glass windows, like those in Beltway plaza, is that [retailers] completely cover the glass with ugly signs,” Davis said. “Also, the problem with signage is that potential robbers can see through the windows, especially with lights on, and see what’s inside and where. This can provoke perpetrators to break in.”
Marusak told Davis the lease requirement of the space says tenants cannot cover the glass with advertisements.
“We can assure you that we will exercise proper control over our retailers about this issue,” he said.
According to submitted drawings, CPI also wants to install a new signage pylon – a monument-shaped structure which will hold signs identifying tenant businesses.
Hull said the idea came after some tenants complained when they could not have a pylon signage.
“For certain tenants, who might be behind trees and you cannot see them when looking at the shopping center,” Hull said. “It’s very difficult for those unfamiliar with the area to see where the place is.”
Both Jordan and Davis questioned the designation, size and whether the company was going to display all 39 tenants on the signage.
“We’re not going to put all the tenants’ names on it,” Marusak said. “We’re going to stick to the city sign guidelines about allowable sign height which tenants will be offered to review and make proper adjustments.”