Mayor Rawlings-Blake Celebrates Progress for Howard Park

New full-service grocery store will bring over 250 jobs to Northwest Baltimore.

Today, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake joined Congressman Elijah Cummings, Baltimore City Council President Bernard “Jack” Young, elected officials, representatives of Liberty Heights Shopping Center, LLC, and residents of the Howard Park community for a demolition at the future location of a state-of-the-art, full-service ShopRite supermarket on Liberty Heights Avenue in Northwest Baltimore.

Last month, the Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC), acting on behalf of the City of Baltimore, obtained Board of Estimates approval for an agreement with Liberty Heights Shopping Center, LLC to develop a 67,250 sq. ft. Class A supermarket with over 200 parking spaces. ShopRite of Liberty Heights will include a pharmacy, a health suite staffed by a nurse practitioner, a bakery, an extensive seafood section, and a halal butcher to serve the growing Muslim population in the Howard Park community. The store will also employ a full-time community relations coordinator. Project costs are estimated at $18 million (including store equipment).

“For too long, people in this community had to take long trips to get the basic ingredients they need to cook a healthy meal at home—soon they will have everything they need in their own backyard,” said Mayor Rawlings-Blake. “I want to thank residents for working in partnership with the City to develop a plan to bring new jobs and economic opportunity to Howard Park.”

ShopRite of Liberty Heights will be one of the supermarkets developed by Klein’s Family Markets, with the assistance of UpLift Solutions, a non-profit created to help supermarkets open in locations that lack access to healthy and affordable foods. This store, the first for Klein’s in Baltimore City (the company operates seven ShopRite supermarkets in Maryland), will be their largest, employing over 250 people. ShopRite will work with the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development to connect city residents with the new jobs created by this development.

"We are very excited that our collaboration with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the Baltimore City Council, the State of Maryland, and the Baltimore Development Corporation is making this significant project a reality. The City and community have placed a high priority on the development of a full-service supermarket for Howard Park, and the commencement of the demolition of this site is a major milestone toward achieving that goal," said Jeffrey Brown, Chairman of UpLift Solutions.

Since 1999, when the Super Pride market at Liberty Heights Avenue and Hillsdale Road closed, the residents of Howard Park and the surrounding communities have been without a viable grocery option. In an effort to address this concern and fill what has become known as a “food desert,” the City, in partnership with the Howard Park community, proposed the development of a Class A, full-service supermarket on a 5.6-acre site in the heart of the Howard Park Business Area. Over the past five years, the City has worked toward acquiring the property and assembling the site for the development of a grocery store.

“We’re very excited that the Howard Park supermarket is on its way,” said BDC President M.J. “Jay” Brodie. “This project is an excellent example of a collaborative effort between the community, the private sector, and government.” ShopRite plans to be an active participant in the Howard Park community and will assist with the culinary arts program at Calvin Rodwell Elementary School (across the street from the future supermarket), among other activities. Additionally, ShopRite is proposing to establish a tuition assistance program with Baltimore City Community College for employees of the Liberty Heights ShopRite.

BDC, in partnership with the City’s Department of General Services, will oversee demolition activities for the site. Construction of the supermarket is estimated to take nine to ten months to complete, with an expected opening in the first quarter of 2013.

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