Development has been under way for years on the 809-acre Turf Valley property near Ellicott City, but one of the key parcels will get a high-profile addition next week when a new 48,000-square-foot Harris Teeter supermarket opens Tuesday in Turf Valley Towne Square on Resort Road.
"We're very excited," said Louis Mangione of Mangione Family Enterprises, the Lutherville-based firm that owns Turf Valley. "We made a point of getting someone like Harris Teeter, who is new and exciting, and we think they're going to be a tremendous asset to the community."
The buildings at Turf Valley Towne Square are owned and leased by Owings Mills-based Greenberg Gibbons Commercial, which also developed Hunt Valley Towne Centre in Baltimore County, Village at Waugh Chapel in Anne Arundel County, and other commercial and office projects throughout the region.
At full occupancy, Turf Valley Towne Square will include more than 100,000 square feet of restaurant, medical and office space, with Harris Teeter serving as its anchor.
Officials for Greenberg Gibbons could not be reached for comment. Catherine Becker, a spokesperson for Harris Teeter's corporate headquarters in North Carolina, said the company's decisions on new stores and based on factors including size and configuration of sites, existing and future traffic patterns and other economic considerations.
Regarding Ellicott City, "we saw with the development of Turf Valley at Town Square a great opportunity to enter this market. The developer has created a quality shopping center with both a design and a retail mix that we believe will appeal to those living in Ellicott City and the surrounding areas," Becker said in an email.
In recent years, there have been various projects under way at Turf Valley, best known for its golfing facilities and its meeting and convention facilities. Turf Valley's build-out has, at times, raised concerns from residents in nearby established neighborhoods; much of the concern focused on the potential for increased traffic, congestion and noise.
"We didn't really have a quarrel with the owner [Mangione Family Enterprises] wanting to develop the property," said Linda Spencer, a longtime resident who lives on Turf Valley Road. "If it were our property, we'd probably want to do the same thing.
"[But] we really looked upon county government to be the gatekeeper and see that the interests of all stakeholders here are recognized," she said. "And some of us here in the older neighborhoods were very concerned that some of our issues weren't being addressed by the county."
But as the biggest piece of Towne Square prepares to open, Spencer said she has no particular concerns when it comes to the new supermarket.
"I'm sure it's going to be a valuable addition to the neighborhood," she said. "A lot of people are very pleased to see it, and I'm sure I'm going to be shopping there. I think it's going to be a good store."
Mangione said that feeling is shared by residents with whom he's spoken.
"The residents are very excited," he said. "It's always been the plan to have a community retail center with a top-notch food store which is actually within walking distance if residents want to walk, or a short drive if they want to drive.
"It's all part of the master plan, one of the important early pieces, and we're really excited about it," Mangione said.
The Harris Teeter chain started in North Carolina in 1960. The publicly traded company now employs about 25,000 workers and has more than 200 stores in eight states and the District of Columbia, according to its website. Harris Teeter also owns several grocery distribution centers in North Carolina.
Last year, the industry publication Supermarket News ranked Harris Teeter No. 34 among the grocery industry's top 75 retailers and wholesalers, based on its 2011 fiscal year sales figures of $4.3 billion.