Anne Arundel County is seeking proposals to develop 7409 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd. in Glen Burnie. The 13-acre site is owned by Anne Arundel Economic Development Corp. (TBM / Jason Whong

There’s a 13-acre site in Glen Burnie that’s just south of Cromwell Field Shopping Center and 8th Avenue, just east of Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard and the B&A Trail, and just southeast of the Cromwell Light Rail station.

It’s never seemed to be anything special because it isn’t. 7409 Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard was simply the site of some Anne Arundel County government buildings.

But as anyone in the real estate industry can tell you, it’s all about the location and as it’s turned out, that’s a great one, that’s why that nondescript parcel is slated for a project that should make the area around B&A Boulevard and New Jersey Avenue a vibrant core. 

The County has issued a request for proposal to develop that land ― which had been targeted for a new county maintenance facility ― and give the suburb a major boost, an uplift that should eclipse that which has been long-projected for the nearby Glen Burnie Town Center. 

Positive sprawl

While the new project often mentioned as 7409 B&A Boulevard should also benefit the Town Center, “This is a bigger effort than the Town Center,” said Wes MacQuilliam, chief operating officer for the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corp. “The county owns the entire 13 acres. There are several buildings on the property now, including an office building, a warehouse and other buildings that are all old and somewhat dilapidated. 

“That’s why we are making the move,” said MacQuilliam, acknowledging several local landmarks that are practically connected already. “We also think it will revitalize the Cromwell Field Shopping Center and we want to make sure that area is more walkable to the Town Center.” 

On that note, he noted the availability of grant money and the hopes that the new project “spurs redevelopment and improvements in Town Center,” which is home to the Arundel Center North, a satellite location for Anne Arundel Community College; and the to-be-relocated County Office of Emergency Management in the former movie theater site, which includes a parking garage.

“We’ve also been working with new owners of [the nearby] La Fontaine Bleue and are hopeful of upgrades there, too,” he said, all of which can proceed “with some American Rescue Plan Act money left over from the pandemic and $150,000 from the Maryland Department of Housing & Community Development, with more on the way.” 

MacQuilliam also pointed to the additional assistance available via the Anne Arundel Reinvestment Program. “We can offer 0% interest loans up to $100,000,” he said. “We’re taking applications as they come in.”

Synergies abound

One local resident who’s particularly happy with the plans for 7409 B&A is County Councilmember Allison Pickard (District 2), who called the mixed-use plan “a passion project of mine since 2018, which was when I heard the county was contemplating turning the property into a maintenance facility.” 

And she, like MacQuilliam, is hopeful that the project leads to synergies that part of Glen Burnie, which has a population of roughly 70,000, hasn’t experienced in a decades. “Town Center is also county-owned and needs a little love, but the 24/7 residential flow that this new project would spur would provide a catalyst for more development.” 

In addition to the local attractions in that part of town that also include Monsignor Slade Catholic School and the Maryland National Guard Armory, Pickard pointed out that Sawmill Creek offers yet another attraction. Still, she feels the project needs “to blend in with an older neighborhood of single-family homes in a way that makes sense. 

“There is a way to transition this project into the New Jersey Avenue and Linden Avenue areas,” she said, “by making it real mixed-use, which means mixed-income housing, with various dwelling types and an affordable price.” 

Pickard also noted that that section of Glen Burnie “is transitioning, as older residents have been selling to younger, professional families around the new Richard Henry Lee Elementary School. We’re already seeing a bit of the renaissance.” 

Rich May is the owner of May Realty, which is directly across the street from 7409 B&A. He is also “excited about the revitalization of Glen Burnie,” especially since the company purchased two properties in Town Center (26 Crain Highway North and 7462 B&A Boulevard) two years ago. 

May said the 7409 B&A site “has been sparsely used for years and it will now bolster our mix of townhouses and condos with workforce housing,” he said. “Glen Burnie is a great area to accommodate the ‘missing middle’ of our homebuyer’s market because we have the density here to serve new residents.” 

He added one more idea: “If the Mass Transit Administration can find a way to link the Cromwell Light Rail stop directly to BWI Marshall,” May said, “that would make this project even better.” 

June 19, 3 p.m.

Pickard is hoping for the good news to continue. “We would also like to bring the Town Center area into the Maryland Main Street program,” he said, “which would mean tax breaks for more improvement opportunities.” 

For interested parties, proposals must be submitted electronically to [email protected] by 3 p.m. June 19. MacQuilliam was pleased with the turnout at an in-person site tour in mid-May and the general early activity spurred by the RFP. He’s looking forward to hearing more new ideas for that once nonremarkable 13-acre site that is more connected to key addresses of Glen Burnie than many people had seemed to realize. 

Until then he, like a growing number of observers, are wondering about the possibilities for 7409 B&A. What’s next? “We would love to see some public amenities there, too” he said, “like a gathering space, a park, community center,” etc.

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