One thing that got my attention in Kimco's plan was the idea of locating the Bank in its own Building. I support this so the Columbia Bank will get its own Building at the southern end of Lynx Lane just before Cross Fox. This will allow for the demolition of the Columbia Bank's current drive up banking structure. Now the Columbia Bank paired with the second entrance to the vacant Giant (pictured below) once housed as any as three businesses; Ridings Liquors, The Cheese Shoppe, and the Butcher Shoppe.This "new" entrance to the vacant Giant (early 1990s) paired with the Columbia Bank, which will gets its own building will make room for three new tenants. The one closest to Star Nails will be a new Pharmacy Counter similar to the departed Medicine Shoppe. The new Grocer may not have a Pharmacy of its own. In the middle will be a Pizza Bolis. Its current foot print is way too big for its purpose. Nobody EVER sits at its tables and they add to the desolate feeling in the Village Green. All other Pizza chains that are delivery based have very small foot prints. Now the space that roughly housed the old Ridings Liquors will be a home to "Yogi Castle", a Frozen Yogurt place that just opened in Ellicott City and has been a draw to that Shopping Center and with its strategic location in Wilde Lake, it will draw patrons into the Village Green.David's will move roughly to where the vacated Produce Galore sits (more about that later) Here is where the demolished businesses will relocate (The current David's will be demolished and a new building will rise in its place). Above will be one of the four story Apartment Buildings with 108 units. Below will be the Melting Pot, Wilde Lake Karate, The Bagel Bin, Quiznos, and Tokoyo Cafe. These are some of the healthiest businesses in the Center most notably the Melting Pot and Wilde Lake Karate. This may also be a good opportunity for some of the Businesses moving here to retool and recapture their market share. The Bagel Bin can shift its focus on Coffee and Tea and market itself as a Coffee House. There was desire by a meeting attendee for a Starbucks and a Starbucks will drive the Bagel Bin out. When Tokyo Cafe opened several years ago Japanese Restaurants weren't a dime a dozen like they are today. It needs a gimmick to set it apart. My suggestion? Have the cooks prepare your meal table side. The Quiznos will be a new business that will be a draw. West Columbia lacks one yet EVERY other Village Center in West Columbia and two in East Columbia have a Subway. This will further set Wilde Lake apart and draw patrons into the Center.
Now the vacated Produce Galore will be demolished and just like the Kimco plan will house 27,000 Square feet of retail. David's will take 18,000 and the remaining 9,000 will be divided evenly to the other three existing Lynx Lane businesses (Acheiver's Hair Salon, The Ups Store, and Hunan Family) and the other 107 Apartments. I would like to point out that Lynx Lane was once home to a lot more retail businesses. Both Produce Galore and David's expanded once their leases expired. David's was tiny it has since taken over Wilhides Flowers, Mailboxes Etc, Omaha Steaks, a Bakery, a Maternity Consignment Shop, JK Pub, and Duron Paints. Produce Galore was also small, it shared its building with a Hardware Store which it over took and the Building's footprint was expanded at least twice during the 1990s to house the growing business. It's quite remarkable that Produce Galore thrived in the same Village Center for over 25 years.Now Kimco's plan for the Apartment Buildings is to give them their own green spaces in the back. I'm scrapping that because of their ground floor retail. But in between the two I will put in a second Village Green roughly where the above picture was taken. This would have been a parking lot in Kimco's plan. My plan gives not only a Full Service Grocer but more public Green Space.Now back to the Village Green. With the Melting Pot building demolished the Village Green will be visible from Twin Rivers Road. This will make back filling the vacancies left by the Medicine Shoppe and Feet First easier. Also struggling businesses (with the help of the new Grocer) will see new business. I'm thinking a Day Spa for the old Feet First space and a maybe a Jewler and a Florist for the Medicine Shoppe.Now this covered area will remain largely the same. Of course the vacant Giant in the background will be demolished and the end of the covered area will lead to the new Grocer which will be set back from existing retail. Well that's my plan for Wilde Lake Village Center. It includes keeping the Gas Station (Kimco's doesn't) a Full Service Grocer, (Kimco's doesn't), and two Village Greens (Kimco's doesn't) now be warned Kimco, I'm not convinced that you've exhausted all Full Service Grocer options. I will be trying to get in contact with a number of potential tenants to see if you've wooed them. If you haven't, I will and I would suggest to anyone reading this post who agrees with me to do the same.
Now in order for this to work, Wilde Lake as a Village needs both reinvestment and redevelopment of older blighted properties. With Wilde Lake full of new construction, new tenants for the Village Center will be easier to attract. Below are links to older posts I've published calling for reinvestment of existing housing stock and the redevelopment of housing stock that's too far-gone.