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New Edgewater Shopping Center Draws Harsh Criticism

Lighthouse Plaza on Solomons Island Road will bring new businesses to the area.

A new shopping center scheduled to open up on Route 2 will bring several new businesses to Edgewater—much to the dismay of area residents.

Lighthouse Plaza is being built at 3145 Solomons Island Rd., and according to a spokesman with Anne Arundel County Planning and Zoning the shopping center already has plans to bring three new stores

Advanced Auto Parts, Dollar Tree and Mr. Tire will all open in Lighthouse Plaza. News of the stores has drawn harsh criticism from residents who believe Route 2 is being overbuilt.

“Doesn't Edgewater have enough shopping centers?” wrote D. Bell. “Have you seen the traffic on Rt. 2 lately? This is totally crazy.”

In January, Patch reported that an AutoZone was under construction on Route 2 next to Sonic. The opening of an Advanced Auto in Lighthouse Plaza would mark the second auto parts store with plans to come to Edgewater this year.

There is also already a Dollar Tree in the South River Colony Marketplace, up the street from where Lighthouse is being built.

“There is already a Dollar Tree in the shopping center where the Kmart is,” Heather wrote. “I think the residents of the area should have a vote as to what gets approved for things like that.”

The over-commercialization of Solomons Island Road in Edgewater is a hot-topic for residents who came to the area long before any of the businesses. Many fear that the Edgewater they used to know, no longer exists.

“I am 46 years old and grew up in Edgewater,” Beth wrote. “The once little town is gone. Time to think about pulling up stakes. So sad.”

Other Edgewater-Davidsonville Patch readers questioned a new shopping center when there are empty storefronts along Route 2.

“How about trying to fill the vacant retail spots we already have before building more,” Tammy Baldwin wrote. “So much for our quaint little town of Edgewater.”

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Candy Garofolo April 19, 2013 at 10:46 AM
I agree! We closed a Giant foods to open another Giant and we are left with a vacant eye sore. It's wonderful that they want to build and improve but we need to focus on filling vacant buildings so part of our town doesn't appear run down on one side of the roAd & new & improved on the other.
Robin Anderson April 19, 2013 at 11:18 AM
One abandoned Safeway was reused as a gym, but half of that gym is vacant because of a half built swimming pool. I really can't imagine what they'll use a second empty grocery store for except the Halloween shop each year. When we were kids, mom would shop at Giant, and we would walk next door for ice cream at Green Spring Dairy. I would never dare let my kids out of sight in that area now. The fact that all the stores are so disconnected, the back access roads are disjointed, and the people who drive behind the businesses are either using it for a shortcut or appear lost, but none seem to know when to stop or when to go. Over the years I have grown to hate driving through Edgewater. My sympathies to those who live there.
Katie April 19, 2013 at 11:39 AM
What is going in directly across from the Gaint and M&T Bank at the intersection? I see it has a leasing sign up. Mayo Road traffic is so bad that if you living by Adams Rib it is easier to circle around by Kmart to head to Annapolis instead of trying to turn left on Mayo.
Mike H April 19, 2013 at 12:13 PM
I have to say that we are lucky to have a town that is actually continuing to grow. These are champagne problems folks! Do you really think having an auto parts store and a Mr. Tire will change traffic? The fact the people even call what happens on Rt.2 traffic is laughable. Having to wait for an extra rotation of a light is hardly traffic. If it's ruining your version of Edgewater, than that is a shame, but I love it. Everything I need is within a 3-5 minute drive of my house, and traffic here is nothing compared to Montgomery, PG, Howard or DC. The sky isn't always falling, sometimes the glass is half full.
tom April 19, 2013 at 12:38 PM
I think the problem is that people move into a relatively quiet little town because they like what it has to offer, but then they want the conveniences they left behind in their more urban neighborhood. As a result, they end up destroying the reasons they moved there in the first place. I like convenience too, but there's a price to pay and just like a marriage, you don't want to change the person you love into someone else.
GG Chet April 19, 2013 at 12:55 PM
I am in hopes the new $Tree will be similar to the new one in Bowie and that the old one in Old Shopping Center will close. I would think that to be the plan..
Renee Knopp April 19, 2013 at 01:19 PM
I don't leave in Edgewater but in Deale but agree its totally silly why building new stores when just recently three stores have just closed and there Giant sits empty. The three stores they are going to bring there, really does south county need them, I think we have enough. Really bad planning!
TM April 19, 2013 at 01:19 PM
And still - NOTHING for kids - we have nearly no playgrounds of any substance in the area. We've looked into opening a business geared towards children and families but alas the rent is simply out of the reach of anything but a corporate chain. As for those saying we should have a 'vote' sorry that's just ridiculous - this is a free market system. Like it or not - that's the system...
Renee Knopp April 19, 2013 at 01:19 PM
yes that one in Kmart shopping center leaves a bit to be desired....hope they hire new staff too
Stacey April 19, 2013 at 05:08 PM
There are so many vacant stores and stores closing in and around Edgewater. Why don't we provide incentives for businesses to open up in shopping centers with vacancies???? South River Main Street is a prime example... those are nice stores and just sit vacant! Can the old Giant be divided and create a market like the one in Downtown Annapolis with "stalls"? Bigger and new isn't always better!
Maryellen Brady April 19, 2013 at 06:40 PM
3000 homes, 3 million square feet of shopping center and office complex. That is what the developer was proposing for South River Colony at its inception. Three Civic Associations: Londontowne Prop Owners Assoc, Mayo Civic Assoc and the South County Zoning Committee, stopped it and negotiated 900 homes, a million square feet commercial etc.. But that is when citizens had a voice in our governance. Janet Owens screwed South County when she sold the police station and then it was zoned for a USED CAR lot. The Lee family negotiated in good faith for responsible development of Lee Airpark. The shopping center is different, but it made living nearby compatible, stormwater management a priority and shopping convenient. Our community contiues to evolve, but no one is overwhelmed and the traffic is tolerable compared to what could have been. Finally, the ole chicken coop is going to get developed. The commercial zones have consumed residential on Route 2, The best way to make sure the vacant stores are filled is to challenge commercial enterprises to get creative in delivering product. We need to make sure commercial development stays in Edgewater. There has been pressure to create the commercial creep beyond Rte 2 and 214. proceding down Rte 2.We cannot let that happen. We stopped them in the last zoning effort, but we have to continue vigilance in this matter. The New fire house needs to be built to protect our citizens.
Mike H April 19, 2013 at 08:04 PM
A lot of people don't know this but Giants often continue to pay their lease on existing buildings or sub-lease them to seasonal companies so that competition won't move in. I work in commercial real estate and this is a pretty common practice by them. I do not know for sure that applies to the Edgewater location but I wouldn't be surprised. At least the building they tore down to build the new center was an eyesore.
Mike H April 19, 2013 at 08:09 PM
There is still room for commercial to creep north from Lee Park to the old police station. I would think that someone will be smart enough to eventually buy those 4 or 5 properties and build something of value.
Cindy Morgan April 21, 2013 at 04:45 PM
Whatever stores are planned for the shopping centers will live or die by your demand for their product. If there are too many auto parts stores, one will make it, one won't. That's the beauty of the free market enterprise system, you the consumer can choose to spend money there or not. Ever since they widened Rt. 2 in Edgewater, it has relieved much congestion. Too many stop lights are what slows traffic down. It is very concerning that South River Colony has so many empty stores whose owners either didn't make it, or chose to relocate to the new Lee Airport Shopping center. The beauty of our small town is we know our neighbors and the owners of the businesses we frequent. I would like to spend my hard earned money in South County rather than outside the county.
Ed Woods May 06, 2013 at 02:16 PM
Someone asked why so many vacant places in South River Colony. Answer - Greed. You can't charge Champange Rents for Beer Properties........ And, Quite Frankly, the People (based on the Comments that appear with Patch articles every day) who are moving in here are...... well..... Strange. If your idea of a great place is Severna Park or Fells Point, then move there. And take Starbucks with you.......

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