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The long awaited development of the historic Rotunda in my Hampden/Wyman Park neighborhood is set to begin this spring.

Construction is to begin this spring on a major redevelopment of the
landmark Rotunda shopping center in North Baltimore – including a new 22-story hotel and apartment tower – after the project won final approval from the city Planning Commission yesterday.The $130 million development also will bring condominiums, townhouses, a bookstore, restaurants and a new Giant supermarket to a retail and office center that has faded in recent years with the growth of suburban shopping malls and town centers

The Rotunda is a short walk from my house, and the only reason my wife and I went there was to see movies at the Rotunda Cinematheque, a sister theater to the historic Senator in Towson. I’m glad to hear that the RC will also be expanded.

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The existing Giant is a mess and had frequent rodent infestations. Hopefully this problem will be solved with the new Giant slated to be built in the complex.

Shopping choices in my neighborhood are limited, unless you enjoy the bohemian boutique shops on 36th Ave. I like them, but I don’t always need things from them. It is also a hassle to schlep out to Towson, Timmonium, or Hunt Valley to shop.

The addition of new restaurants is welcome too. Hampden has a few fine establishments, but after a while you crave something different.

My city council representative and election opponent Mary Pat Clarke hit the nail on the head:

“We were very concerned because we could see that things were going the wrong way at the Rotunda,” said City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, whose district includes the center on 40th Street north of the Hampden business district. “We saw the place going to wrack and ruin.”

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