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Accessory Boutique Planned For Canton

Need a new necklace for a night out on the town? How about a custom-made hat for church? A shop planned for Canton hopes to have you covered.
Dana's Boutique, a shop specializing in accessories for both men and women, plans to open this spring pending approval from the city's zoning board March 6.
Owner Dana Church expects to invest somewhere between $5,000 and $8,000 to bring her boutique to 2400 Fleet St., a space most recently occupied by Baltimore Contained, a container garden shop and florist that closed last year.
Church's concept for the space combines couture fashion with a Paris theme. Some of the accessories will be from high-end labels, while others will be custom-made, Church says.
"I'm excited to bring something different the community in Canton. I'm hoping to stay there for the long-term and that Dana's Boutique becomes a name that people know and remember," Church says.
One designer Church plans to feature is Adrian Dana, recently featured in Lifetime's “Project Accessory,” a spinoff of the “Project Runway” reality television program. Dana specializes in ornate and colorful hats.
Church originally wanted a shop in Fells Point, but costs and competition drove her to look into other locations. After doing some research and speaking with local business owners, she decided the Fleet Street location a few blocks north of the Safeway and The Can Company shopping area in Canton was a good fit.
Outside of a paint job to match the theme of the boutique, the space is move-in ready, Church says.
Church grew up in northeast Baltimore and graduated from the former Northern High School in 1991. Prior to working in fashion, Church worked for a number of years at the U.S. Postal Service and also as a payroll accountant.
A mother of two, Church began selling jewelry in 2008. She had always loved fashion, but says she never had the drive to do it on her own until she actually started selling jewelry.
Pending zoning approval from the city, a grand opening for the boutique will be held on March 31 from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at 2400 Fleet St. in Canton.

Source: Dana Church, owner of Dana's Boutique
Writer: Alexandra Wilding

Mongolian Grill Opening in Can Company on Valentine's Day

BangBang Mongolian Grill, a create-your-own stir-fry restaurant that touts its heart-healthy fare, will open Valentine's Day in   Canton's Can Co. building.

Midwestern snowstorms delayed the shipping of equipment for the 4,000-square-foot restaurant, pushing the expected opening from last fall until now, says Dr. Shawn Dhillon managing partner for the restaurant. Additionally, the restaurant didn't want to hasten their building process to compromise quality, says Dhillon.
Bangbang Mongolian Grill replaces the former Austin Grill, which closed over a year ago at The Can Company.
Additionally, the restaurant plans to employ 45 to 50 people on its staff from workers in the kitchen to managers. The majority of the hiring has been completed, says Dhillon.
Dhillon expects the second Mongolian Grill to open in early March at 15752 Annapolis Rd. in Bowie.
Along with his partners, Dhillon plans to open an additional four grills and is currently scouting locations in Annapolis, Washington, and Virginia.
The format of the restaurant allows patrons select from their choice of chicken, beef, pork, seafood, and vegetables with choices of spices and sauces making for a meal that Dhillon believes is healthy and balanced.

Writer: Alexandra Wilding
Source: Dr. Shawn Dillon, BangBang Mongolian Grill

North Avenue Market to Get $1M Facelift and New Tenant

The building that houses the WindUp Space and Cyclops among others in the Station North Arts and Entertainment District will soon be ready for its close up.
The façade of the entire North Avenue Market building will undergo a $1 million renovation starting in April, says Carolyn E. Frenkil, co-owner of the space.

Used bookstore Cyclops will renovate to make way for a coffee shop. The market is also poised to add a new tenant within the next two months in a vacant gallery space. Frenkil expects the yet unnamed tenant to plan various events, shows, and exhibits to bring additional visibility to the market.
The North Avenue Market building, built in 1928, also houses Liam Flynn's Ale House and Baltimore Print Studios.
"You can't tell a book by its cover, but if it doesn't have an interesting cover, who's going to open it?" Frenkil says.
Some of the planned renovations include a new paint job, additional lighting for the building, and opening up long-covered exterior windows.

Cyclops' renovations are expected to begin when the façade renovations commence, Frenkil says.
The Reinvestment Fund, a Philadelphia-based developer, is working with the owners of the North Avenue Market to finance the renovations.
Frenkil hopes the facelift will help to generate business for all of the establishments in the Station North Arts District as part of the resurgence in development of an area has long been affected by crime, vacancies, and urban decay. 
"When people drive up Charles and hit North Avenue the lights will be on and people will say 'Something is happening on North Ave'," Frenkil says.
Frenkil wants North Avenue to develop organically into a unique destination arts district where customers will find the products of the creative energy of Baltimore's residents.
"Why mimic someone when you have an opportunity to create something?  We want to create a destination, not a drive-by. If we do what others do, what makes us different? Why come to North Ave.?" Frenkil says. 

Writer: Allie Wilding
Source: Carolyn Frenkil, North Avenue Market

Massachusetts Firm to Develop Marketplace at Fells

A Massachusetts firm has acquired the rights to develop the retail and apartment component of Marketplace at Fells Point, a $40 million project that is now slated to break ground April 1.

Drew Dolben, senior vice president for the Dolben Co. Inc., says he has acquired the rights for the massive urban redevelopment plan from South Broadway Properties LLC's Dave Holmes. The Dolben Co. has a regional office in Odenton. 

Holmes says he is still involved with the project and is leading a $5 million renovation of the Broadway Market. The recession made financing more complicated and the company realized it needed a partner to see the project get built, he says. With a partner leading the retail and apartment building, South Broadway Properties can focus on the restoration of the market.

The developers of the Marketplace at Fells Point plan to transform the 600 block of South Broadway Street into a "vibrant gateway to historic Fells Point." The transformation will include shops, restaurants and a pedestrian plaza. Streetscape improvements will be a public-private partnership with the city spearheading the design and planning of a pedestrian space called the Square at Fells Point. Planning for that space is currently underway with construction expected to start later this year, Holmes says. 

The extensive project, in the works for several years, also received some federal stimulus funding. But construction on the project, initially slated for January 2011, has been delayed. The group revised it's original plans that included office space and a parking garage after the recession to simply retail and residential space. These changes lowered the total cost of the project.

The company is waiting on the city to issue building permits for the project at 600 S. Broadway and expects the development to take between 18 to 20 months to complete.
The project is expected to include 159 apartment units and over 27,000 square-feet of retail space. The company is working with CBRE Group, Inc. to attract food outlets and boutique retailers to lease space.
The apartments will be a mixture of one and two bedroom units, and the rents will be consistent with other prices in the area, Dolben says.
"We think the Fells Point neighborhood is one of the best residential addresses in Baltimore and a very vibrant area," Dolben says.
By acquiring the Marketplace at Fell's Point project, the company wanted to expand its portfolio in the Washington-Baltimore corridor.
The company currently has two projects in construction in Maryland, the Village at Odenton Station and the View at Mill Run in Owings Mills. Between developments in Virginia, Maryland and the New England area, the company maintains 11,000 apartment units, Dolben says.
Writer: Allie Wilding
Sources: Drew Dolben, Dolben Co. Inc.; Dave Holmes, South Broadway Properties LLC 

Consignment Shop Opens in Belair-Edison

Ernestine Brown is on a mission to help women look their best without having to break the bank.
Brown opened Sister Ernie B's Sassy Seconds, a consignment shop in the Belair-Edison neighborhood this month to provide an alternative destination for women who want to look good while on a budget.
"It's hard to go out to our favorite stores, Macy's, Nordstrom, so we're being wiser with our spending. But it doesn't change the fact that we like to look good," says Brown.
In addition to a consignment shop, Sister Ernie B's Sassy Seconds is a women's handbag and accessory boutique.
Brown hopes to woo savvy, working women with her shop at 3428 Belair Rd., in the Belair-Edison Main Street district.
"I'm excited because Belair Road is a busy main street in the city and we have a little something for everyone with a price base that everyone can afford," Brown says.
The shop is currently seeking consigned items for a period of 90 days. If the clothing sells, the price is split evenly between the consigner and the store. Items that do not sell can be returned or donated to the women's recovery house that Brown runs, Sister to Sister, Heart to Hrt
Additionally, Brown plans to use the consignment shop as a training opportunity for some of the women involved in the recovery house to reestablish job skills.
A Baltimore native, Brown has long shopped at consignment stores around the city, and aspires to educate more people about the value of consignment shops.
She sees her business as an extension of her desire to help others change their lives for the better. In time, she also hopes to provide jobs for youth in the neighborhood at the shop in which she invested all of her savings.

Writer: Alexandra Wilding
Source: Ernestine Brown, owner of Sister Ernie B's Sassy Seconds

Columbia Wegmans to Open June 17

The new Wegmans Food Markets’ Columbia store will house a 432-seat restaurant and market serving up made-to-order sushi, ice cream, a hot-and-cold veggie bar and other prepared foods. 
The 145,000-square-foot store will open June 17 at Snowden River Parkway and McGaw Road and feature a two-story parking garage. It will be the Rochester, New York company’s fifth Maryland store. 

The new store will employ nearly 700, says Wendy Webster, who will manage the Columbia location. Webster is the former store manager at Hunt Valley. Service Manager Rob Griffin and Executive Chef Tom Schwarzweller, who previously worked at Hunt Valley, will join her. 

The Columbia Wegmans will offer more than 70,000 individual products, including fresh seafood delivered daily, up to 700 fresh produce items, and 300 varieties of imported and domestic cheese. Wegmans is known for drawing customers who will drive as far as 30 miles to shop at one of its stores. 

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Wendy Webster, Wegmans

Woodberry Kitchen Owners to Open Cafe in Hampden

Woodberry Kitchen’s Spike and Amy Gjerde will open a coffee shop at Hampden’s Union Mill this spring.

The 1,500-square-foot café will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. Allie Caran, the lead barista at Woodberry Kitchen will manage the store, Spike Gjerde says.

Also still in the works is Half Acre, a fast-casual eatery that the Gjerdes will open at 3801 Falls Rd. in the middle of this year. The 75-seat restaurant will serve lunch and dinner and employ 30, Gjerde says. The restaurant is also opening an office at Union Mill for about half a dozen employees at the cafe and restaurants.

The café will be under construction next month and open in March or April, says Michael Morris, the real estate manager for the Gjerdes’ restaurant ownership group behind Woodberry Kitchen, Artifact and Half Acre.

One of the area’s first farm-to-table restaurants, Woodberry Kitchen is one of the Baltimore area’s most popular restaurants. It earned the accolade of Bon Appetit magazine, which named it one of the Top 10 Best New Restaurants in America in its September 2009 issue.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Sources: Spike Gjerde, Woodberry Kitchen; Michael Morris, real estate manager

New Deli to Open Near Columbia's Greene Turtle

Garden Deli, specializing in healthy sandwiches and salads, will open in the Columbia Corporate Park in early February.

The 1,709-square-foot restaurant will hold seven tables, says Owner Sang Yoo, who will run the deli with his wife, Yoon.

Columbia Corporate Park is located near the intersection of Snowden River Parkway and Route 175 in Columbia near the University of Phoenix complex. Other nearby restaurants include the Greene Turtle Sports Bar & Grille, Royal Taj and Cheeburger Cheeburger.

Yoo is currently developing the menu, but expects to sell sandwiches from $5 to $6.29.

The Yoos live in Columbia and decided to open the deli because they love the area. The Garden Deli is the couple’s only business.

Writer: Alexandra Wilding
Source: Sang Yoo, Garden Deli

Federal Hill Gets Boutique, Brewpub

Beer lovers and fashionistas may start spending more time in Federal Hill.

Brightside Boutique and Art Studio and the Brewer’s Cask bar and restaurant both opened this month.

They are the latest businesses to debut in Federal Hill as neighborhood promoters work to fill vacancies. Cheese Galore and More and Republic Noodle opened in the fall.

After several years in New York working for Diane von Furstenberg and Nanette Lepore, Towson University graduate Christie Griffiths wanted to return to Baltimore. Located at 1136 S. Charles St., Brightside sells floral tops, vintage clothing, jewelry, handbags and shoes.

Mindful of the economy, Griffiths says she is selling pieces that cost less than $100.

“I love the neighborhood,” Griffiths says. “There’s tons of bars but not a lot of shopping.”

And speaking of bars, the Brewer’s Cask pours 20 draft beers on tap and houses 50 bottles.

Jason Stevens and partner Ajay Singh are keeping their day jobs in IT, and taking turns working nights at the 100-seat brewpub, Stevens says.

The 2,500-square-foot pub was formerly Muggsy’s and opened Jan. 5, just hours after the business received its liquor license, Stevens says.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Sources: Christie Griffiths, Brightside; Jason Stevens, Brewer's Cask

Bottle Tax Debate Heats Up

Baltimore City’s proposal to increase the tax on soda, water, beer and juice to pay for school construction has some business owners concerned that it will eat into their profits.

“Everyone cares about schools, but this is not the way to go about it, which is on the backs of businesses,” says Rob Santoni Jr., chief financial officer of Santoni’s Supermarket.

The city introduced a 2-cent beverage tax last year and is now proposing to increase it to 5 cents. The tax, combined with revenue from slots and the city’s contribution to teachers’ healthcare benefits, would increase the Baltimore City school’s capital budget by $23 million.

“If we want to grow the city with more families and create tomorrow's workforce and new jobs, we can't afford crumbling school buildings,” says Ryan O’Doherty, spokesman for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

But Santoni, chairman of the Maryland Food Dealers Council, fears more of his customers will shop in the county instead of the city. He estimates that he has lost $500,000 in income due to fewer customer visits since the beverage tax was first introduced.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Sources: Rob Santoni Jr., Santoni's Supermarket; Ryan O'Doherty, Baltimore City

Anthropologie Boutique to Open in Four Seasons

Women’s apparel shop Anthropologie will open a boutique at the newly opened Four Seasons Hotel in Baltimore’s Harbor East neighborhood.

Baltimore City’s Urban Design and Architecture Review Panel is slated to review plans for the store’s design Dec. 8. The store would join clothing shops White House Black Market, South Moon Under and Urban Chic.

A unit of Urban Outfitters Inc., Anthropologie’s other area stores are located in Towson and Annapolis. There’s also an Urban Outfitters in Harborplace.

Baltimore City architect Robert Quilter says the store’s architect David A.Levy & Associates Inc. of Akron, Ohio wants to do something “different” with the storefront, which is why it needs the city’s design panel to review its plans. He deferred additional design questions to David A. Levy architects, who could not be reached for comment.

Urban Outfitters officials could not be reached for comment.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Urban Design and Review Panel

Cupcake Shop to Open in Ellicott City

The aroma of fresh-baked confections will soon waft again from a retail storefront on Route 40 in Ellicott City.

Cooks N Cakes will open this month at 9251 Baltimore National Pike next to Starbucks. It’s the spot that once held the Breadery, which has moved to Catonsville.

Owner Adell Cothorne is a former Montgomery County principal who found herself baking cupcakes for family and friends. She decided to put aside her career in education after folks started putting in orders last month.

“I was up from Friday until Sunday trying to fill cupcake orders and decided that I can’t be a principal and bake cupcakes,” Cothorne says. “I’m going to follow my passion and do cupcakes.”

She chose Ellicott City because of its income and liked the spot because it is next to a heavily trafficked Starbucks. Cothorne hopes she’ll get Starbucks’ customers who want fresh-baked cupcakes made with cage-free eggs, local dairy and European butter.

The store will offer seven daily flavors, including several cocktail-inspired ones like Pina Colada and Bailey’s and Cream. Cothorne is hoping those flavors will be a hit at her cupcake happy hour. Cupcakes will cost $3 each, or $2.75 for six or more.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Adell Cothorne, Cooks N Cakes

Owings Mills Gets Wegmans, New Mall

The stage is set for the $65 million transformation of Owings Mills Mall from an old-style enclosed shopping mall to an open-air town center.

The project will be a joint venture between Kimco Realty Corp. and General Growth Properties. Each company will have a 50 percent ownership stake in the newly redeveloped property.

The companies plan to tear down the current building in 2013 and complete it the following year. The developers will retain the AMC Movie Theater, JC Penney and Macy's and sign up a new mix of retail tenants and restaurants to the complex, including boutiques and junior anchor stores that face the street. The dated building has long been a fixture of the website Deadmalls.com.

The Owings Mills Mall redevelopment project is one of several taking place in the Baltimore County town. The once-dormant Owings Mills Metro Centre project got a jumpstart in the summer with construction on a public library and community college branch. Greenberg Gibbons Commercial Corp. also said this month that it will bring Wegmans Food Markets as the lead tenant at the Foundry Row at Owings Mills, a redevelopment of the shuttered Solo Cup site.

Soures: General Growth Properties, Greenberg Gibbons Commercial Corp.
Writer: Amy McNeal

Baltimore County Hardware Store Moving to Larger Space

A Baltimore County hardware store has hammered an expansion deal that will allow it to carry a wider range of merchandise.

Suburban Ace Hardware has moved to 10912 York Rd. in Cockeysville. The 11,200-square-foot shop has 50 percent more space for its gardening supplies, power tools, propane grills, fasteners and window screens, Owner Mike Boulay says.

“In the retail business, you can only sell what you can see,” Boulay says. “You have to broaden your base if you want to get ahead. It takes more square feet to do that.”

Though it’s only a few hundred yards from its old location, the new spot offers better visibility on York Road, Boulay says.

“It’s tough to get good real estate on York Road.”

The spot is located at Railroad Crossing, a three-building site owned by Continental Realty Corp.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Mike Boulay, Suburban Ace Hardware

Circulator Launches New Green Line Route

The Charm City Circulator, Baltimore's free bus service, launched a new route on November 1, 2011. The new Green Route will allow Circulator riders greater access to popular points downtown. The new route includes stops at City Hall, the Maritime Park connection to the Water Taxi and the Johns Hopkins Medical Campus.
The Green Route also increases access to the Fell's Point area including Harbor East. Popular attractions for both tourists and locals, including the Reginald F. Lewis Museum, Broadway Market, are features of  the new route. The new Green Line interconnects with the orange Line at Harbor East, but does not have a connection to the Purple Line. It  also allows riders to connect with Metro trains at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and Shot Tower/Market Place stations.
The launch of the Green Route also coincides with the addition of a new bus type to the Charm City Circulator fleet. The Orion VII BRT Hybrid bus will go into service as part of the Circulator fleet. The new model of  hybrid bus will be used throughout the Circulator's routes.
Financed by Baltimore's parking tax revenue, The Charm City Circulator has carried approximately 3 million riders since its initial launch. The Circulator is slated to expand service to include a new line running from the Inner Harbor area to Fort McHenry in the spring of 2012.
Writer: Amy McNeal
Sources: Downtown Partnership, Charm City Circulator
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