Monday, June 30, 2008

Long Reach Village Center

Ladies and Gentlemen stop the press because I got the idea of the millennium for Long Reach. Between Long Reach and Owen Brown Village Centers lies a mecca of suburban "big box" retail that has changed the way Columbians have shopped forever. This no doubt cost East Columbia Village Centers business and tenants especially Sit Down Restaurants. Long Reach has lost a very large number of mid market to upscale tenants over the past 15 years to be replaced by low rent tenants that cater to a poorer audience. This is also due to the decline of apartment and town home developments around the Village Center. Crime has also been a deterrent to would be shoppers for the past 15 years as well. The opening of a Police Satellite Office in the Center has brought back shoppers but not upscale tenants.
Now my idea, rather than building a Wegmans at Snowden River Parkway and McGaw Road we build it at Long Reach. Upscale Grocery Stores have been the order of the day in the past few years and it doesn't get much higher end than Wegmans. Now why Long Reach? Well, it's very close to all the big box retail and it's probably the closest Village Centers to a slew of high traffic roads; (Route 175, Dobbin Road, Snowden River Parkway, Route 108, and Route 100. Tamar Drive also carries a respectable number of cars itself.
Now how can a Village Center attract a high end grocer? Well a new page in history was written when Kings Contrivance attracted a Harris Teeter replacing an aging Safeway which coincidently is the current Supermarket at Long Reach. Safeway has stuck it out through good times and bad times at Long Reach but has increased competition from the new Giant at Palace 9, the new Food Lion, on Route 108, and even a new Safeway at Long Gate which boasts a more modern look and a better selection. Wegmans can be Long Reach's chance to get back the business it's lost over the years.Over the years Long Reach has lost a Subway, a Taco Bell, a Hair Cuttery, a First Union Bank, a Blockbuster Video, Jack's Ice Cream, a CVS Pharmacy, a Renew Instant Shoe Repair, Sneakers Bar & Grill, Adam's Ribs, India Palace, African Braiding House, Long Reach Hair & Nail Salon, a Bike Shop, Long Reach Pharmacy, Barber King, and the Long Reach Branch of the Howard County Library.Current Tenants include Dollar Buys, Long Reach Beauty Supply, Community Cutz, United Optical, Gourmet Garden, Dominos Pizza, Long Reach Cleaners, Angel Nails, Deli Town, State Employees Credit Union, Reve Day Spa, Long Reach Laundromat, Chick'N Friends, Liberty Tax Service, Parcel Plus, Safeway, Richburn Liquors, Exxon, and the Howard County Police Satellite Office.Now my remodeling plan for Long Reach Village Center is just a small part of my redevelopment plan for the Village as a whole. The addition of upscale merchants would be supported by a broad new spectrum of residents. I will dedicate an entire post to the redevelopment of Long Reach.Now the current Safeway is a once respectable 53,000 square feet, well under half the size of a Wegmans. No doubt, the current anchor space in Long Reach would have to be expanded drastically to accommodate a Wegmans whose stores run about 130,000 square feet. Now I don't know if Long Reach has the space to expand to a full 130,000 square feet but I'm aiming for at least 110,000 square feet, still more than twice the size of the current Safeway.
The new Wegman's expansion would be to the left of the current Safeway eating up Richburn Liquors and the Exxon. It would brush up against Tamar Drive and Foreland Garth, in fact Foreland Garth may be relocated a little further towards Old Dobbin Lane to accommodate Wegmans. The new Exxon would be across Foreland Garth near the power lines and the new Richburn Liquors would be located inside the courtyard where the Laundromat currently is. The Liquor Store wouldn't take the whole space.
Other new tenants would include an A&W Foods (replacing Deli Town), Walgreens (replacing Dollar Buys and Long Reach Beauty Supply with a Drive Through Pharmacy), the sidewalk between Walgreens and SECU would turned into a paved road to make way for the drive through Pharmacy. Still more new tenants would include a Rita's ice (the other part of the now former Laundromat which will have parking lot frontage) Starbucks Coffee (replacing Liberty Tax Service, and Curves Women's Gym (replacing Chick'N Friends.)
Well that'll do it the new Long Reach Village Center, the crown and jewel of the redeveloped Long Reach.


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