A Bethesda Inferiority Complex

County Executive Kevin Kamenetz says his vision of Towson's future involves being better than Bethesda and Silver Spring.

The sign above County Executive Kevin Kamenetz's head attempted to proclaim the excitement and vibrancy of Towson.

But judging from his opening remarks during an announcement about three restaurants coming to Towson Square, perhaps the message should have been "Towson: A Better Bethesda." 

"We're going to become Baltimore County's Bethesda," Kamenetz said during a news conference announcing the new restaurant tenants at the project under construction on more than 4 acres of land along Joppa Road adjacent to the Towson Town Center.

The $85 million project, built by Heritage Properties and The Cordish Companies, was formerly known as Towson Circle III and includes a 16-screen Cinemark movie theater as well as restaurant and retail space as well as an 862-space parking garage.

The county has pledged more than $6 million in grants to the project. The Baltimore County Revenue Authority is spending $12 million on the garage for  which it will ultimately assume management.

Kamenetz said his vision of Towson includes making it a place where people live, work and socialize, as well as making it a destination for visitors.

"Better than Bethesda, better than Silver Spring or whatever else [County Executive] Ike Legget can churn up in Montgomery County," Kamenetz said.

This isn't the first time Kamenetz has looked to other jurisdictions longingly like Jay Gatsby stretching his arms out to the green light on the end of Daisy Buchanan's dock.

In 2010, shortly before being sworn-in, Kamenetz spoke of his desire to have the county become known for innovative government.

"When I was young, I remember very clearly that Baltimore County, at least in my opinion, was the ideas county—seen as a real innovator across the state. It was certainly home to that sense of innovation and creativity," Kamenetz said in November 2010. "And I had a sense that over the years, with all compliments to our friends to the west in Howard County, that they've kind of assumed that role in several ways.

"I have to tell you that I'm eager to have our county, Baltimore County, play that role again," he said.

The county executive mentioned Bethesda no less than half-a-dozen times during his news conference, even using it to punctuate comments made by others.

Sigmund Freud had his penis envy. Perhaps we can call this Bethesda Inferiority Complex?

Blake Cordish, vice president of The Cordish Company, said the Cinemark Theater planned for the complex would include VIP viewing areas for the over-21 crowd. The theater chain has one theater that offers the amenity in California and the offering in Towson would be the first of its kind on the East Coast.

"Not in Bethesda," Kamenetz added.

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Calm down January 16, 2013 at 12:44 PM
If you don't expand the commercial tax base and create income, you don't have the funds to invest in schools, unless you want to raise taxes.
M. Sullivan January 16, 2013 at 01:39 PM
What's this, some kind of contest? Is he going to play with our tax money creating some attempt at a showplace while the basic infrastructure of the County suffers? I can't wait until the next election!
Buck Harmon January 16, 2013 at 02:10 PM
Is it at all possible that this project could be completed without 6 million taxpayer dollars being granted to the very rich developer...? KK sports that shit eatin grin when the guys he plays with are making out like bandits... I'm told that KK is in the process of re locating his offices in Towson for some reason...major remodel expenses to County owned property that had just be remodeled a couple of years ago...herd about this yet Bryan?
Steve January 16, 2013 at 04:10 PM
Bethesda Row Cinema has a liquor license.
Old Terp January 16, 2013 at 04:25 PM
"A strong town -- a productive place -- is generally of a higher density than an unproductive place. That financial productivity, however, is not caused by the density. There is a correlation -- as productivity goes up, so does density -- but one does not cause the other." Charles Marohn / 'Strong Towns Blog'


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