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Changes... Village of Cross Keys

This morning Baltimore Business Journal had an article about the planned changes for The Village of Cross Keys. Sounds very exciting to have new construction, luxury rentals, upscale grocery store, and more shops and offices coming to VCK.



''By Melody Simmons  – Reporter, Baltimore Business Journal

''Plans to add a grocery store and other new retail, expanded office space and 318 luxury apartments to the Village of Cross Keys were unveiled to a group of Roland Park leaders Wednesday night.

The North Baltimore development is ripe for redevelopment, said Arsh Mirmiran, a partner in Towson-based Caves Valley Partners that will buy the North Baltimore property from a subsidiary of New York-based Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp., VCK Realty LLC.

The fate of the Village of Cross Keys is similar to Harborplace, also owned by Ashkenazy. The downtown waterfront landmark is in receivership and has been hit with a high vacancy rate and disrepair since Ashkenazy acquired it in 2013 from General Growth Properties. The developer acquired the Village of Cross Keys at the same time.

The sale of Cross Keys is expected to close by spring and designs for the redevelopment will commence in full after that, Mirmiran told the Roland Park Civic League at its monthly meeting where about 60 people were in attendance.

Caves Valley last year completed an overhaul of the Cross Street Market and is the master developer of Stadium Square near M&T Bank Stadium.

The Village of Cross Keys was developed 54 years ago by Jim Rouse. He converted 72 acres purchased from the Baltimore Country Club into a leafy, yet modern urban retail oasis bordered by Falls Road and the Jones Falls Expressway.

It flourished for years in the 1970s and 1980s, but has struggled recently under Ashkenazy's ownership with high office and retail vacancy rates that totaled 48% in the fall.

Commercial real estate data reports posted this year showed the 81,000-square-foot hub lost one-third of its tenants in two years. Its largest tenants include Williams-Sonoma, Octavia Boutique, Talbots, the Store Ltd. and Pied Piper. Other tenants that have left over the past few years include the Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa, Ruth Shaw and Donna's restaurant.

Mirmiran said he could reveal little details of the deal to acquire Cross Keys, except that Ashkenazy agreed to sell it after months of negotiations to partner with Caves Valley for the redevelopment. He first noticed how the development had fallen into disrepair after his mother-in-law bought a condominium at Cross Keys a couple of years ago, he said.

"I thought to myself, this is a big undertaking, but something I'd like to do," Mirmiran said, adding he cold-called Ashkenazy to inquire if the property was for sale.

When he was told it was not, Mirmiran said he persisted trying to make the deal, which was inked in November.

The retail development would begin by spring 2021, Mirmiran said. Changes to the planned unit development, or PUD, for Cross Keys was needed alongside zoning changes before the design phase could move forward. City Councilwoman Sharon Green Middleton attended the meeting and Mirmiran said he had met with her to discuss the redevelopment.

"We're overpaying for the property," he said, declining to reveal the price. "We believe there's an upside in the property."


Caves Valley Partners' Arsh Mirmiran addresses the Roland Park Civic League on Wednesday about the redo of the Village of Cross Keys.

Plans for Cross Keys include the 2,500-square-foot anchor grocery possibly where Williams-Sonoma is now located, he said. The upscale kitchen shop would be relocated to new digs in the Village Square alongside existing and new tenants that could include new retail, restaurants and a gym.

The apartments would be developed in a five- or six-story building with 318 units on a site that is now a flat-surface parking lot near a large tennis barn. The tennis barn would be razed, Mirmiran said, but the complex's outdoor tennis courts would be rebuilt and relocated to another portion of Cross Keys.

One of two "quadrangle" office buildings would also be demolished, possibly replaced by new office space in about three years, he said. Even the entryway to the development, a guardhouse off Falls Road, would be redesigned...''

The plans were met with optimism from Roland Park and Cross Keys residents at the meeting...''



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Comment balloon 0 commentsMargaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400 • January 09 2020 04:24PM