Transit-oriented project begins sprawl-repair near Baltimore

Metro Centre at Owings Mills, Maryland, is a mixed-use, transit-oriented development (TOD) that, upon completion, will support more than 1.2 million square feet of commercial office space; 300,000 square feet of retail; 1,700 residential units; educational facilities totaling 120,000 square feet and a hotel offering up to 250 rooms. Two parking garages are planned to support the project and commuters who use the station. The project recently got underway with the opening of Baltimore County’s largest branch library there.

The TOD is located on the Metro stop in Owings Mills, outside Baltimore. Although more than 4,000 commuters use the station on weekdays, the site is challenging for sprawl repair: It is outside of the city’s I-695 beltway, which means it is not in the denser first ring suburbs.

The site is in the worst kind of sprawl — bisected by major transportation infrastructure, and with nothing to connect to. The Walk Score is 35, and that score is elevated by an adjacent regional mall. The average block size in the area is 78 acres.

This area desperately needs some mixed-use urbanism. More than 160,000 people live and 65,0000 people work within a five-mile radius of Metro Centre at Owings Mills. More than 110,000 vehicles pass the site each day from Interstate 795. Downtown Baltimore is about 20 minutes away.

In the long run, the huge adjacent mall will likely be redeveloped, offering further opportunities for urbanism. Proposed 15 years ago, the county and state have poured $58 million into the project, paying for the campus building, parking garages and infrastructure, The Baltimore Sun reports. It’s the Baltimore area’ s first full-scale TOD, says the Sun.

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