Somerset Construction Co. will hold a ceremonial groundbreaking on Monday for the company’s $180-million Annapolis Junction Town Center, connected to the Savage MARC Station.
Site work on the 18-acre mixed-use project began in March, but Monday will be the first time state and county officials will gather to mark the start of the project. The development is significant for Howard County, because it will include major improvements to the Savage MARC station, as well as a parking garage being funded by a $17-million tax-increment financing plan.
The project will include a 100,000-square-foot office building being developed by Corporate Office Properties Trust; 17,250 square feet of retail; 416 luxury apartment units being developed with Southern Management; and a 150-room hotel. Bethesda-based Somerset was attracted to the development due to its proximity to Fort George G. Meade, the state’s largest employer, and fast-growing Howard and Anne Arundel counties.
“We're sitting in the center of the world on the Howard-Anne Arundel County line, two miles from Fort Meade, and 18,000 people work within a mile-and-a-half radius,” said Neil Greenberg, the company’s chief operating officer. “What makes this project so attractive is that you have the MARC station, and you have mixed-use. And mixed-use is where it’s at.”
Somerset acquired the site as a 12-acre transit-oriented development from Petrie Ross Ventures LLC, then purchased another six acres that allowed the company to spread out the site plan. The acquisition “greatly enhanced the feasibility,” Greenberg said.
Over the long term, Greenberg said Somerset views the project as becoming more desirable due to its access to the MARC train. That’s partly why the company is focusing so much on making improvements to the Savage station.
“If you go out to the station today, it looks like a third-world nation with women wearing high-heeled shoes walking across the tracks,” Greenberg said. “You think, ‘Are we really in America?’”
Somerset will upgrade the station with modern amenities, such as electric car charging stations, bike racks, and high-speed elevators. Overpasses will be added to provide an alternative to walking along the tracks and bathrooms are also planned.