Developer Dick Ziegler presented his long-awaited plans to renovate Bowie's old Bel Air Shopping Center at a City Council meeting this week.
Ziegler, who angered council members when he failed to appear for a December work session because of what he called a "mix-up," said he will immediately apply for a building permit to begin construction of the first of two phases of his Market Place shopping center on Rte. 450 at Stonybrook Drive and Superior Lane.
Ziegler, the president of Ziegler Corp., which acquired the shopping center from Cynwyd Corp., said he hopes to complete the first phase by the fall. This $1 million project would include expanding the 35-store center by five stores, adding Roy Rogers and Big Boy restaurants and a free-standing building that will probably house a bank and real estate office, Ziegler said.
Ziegler said that while this part of the project will not require increased sewer capacity, the second phase will require additional hook-ups not expected to be available until March 1982. Then, he said, $2 to $3 million will be spent to add one major store, 10 specialty shops and a roller skating rink, to be finished in 1983.
Bowie City Manager G. Charles Moore, noting Ziegler had not submitted written plans yet, said the building permit could not be granted until the city is certain that additional sewer capacity will not be needed for the first phase.
Ziegler said that by completion of the project only about a dozen of the present 35 tenants would remain. The focus of the center would be a full spectrum of stores with a neighborhood emphasis. "We hope to have a good mixture of reliable merchants," he said.
In other action, the council approved a strong statement of support for Maryland House Bill 202 which would rescind the state racing commission's decision to begin Sunday racing at Bowie Race Course Jan. 27.
The statement, citing traffic congrestion and safety hazards as major objections to Sunday racing, was presented -- along with a supporting petition bearing the signatures of nearly 2,200 city residents -- at this week's House Ways and Means Committee hearing by Council member Walter G. Planet. Planet headed a delegation composed of council members Dick Logue, Michael F. DiMario and John Bliss Cummings.
While the hearing was going on Maryland Attorney General Stephen H. Sachs temporarily halted Sunday racing, saying in a 15-page opinion that the state's Thoroughbred Racing Board had failed to adequately notified the public of its hearing on granting Sunday racing to Bowie last October.
On Sunday, the board voted 3 to 2 to continue Sunday racing. The board now must hold a new hearing before Sunday schedules can begin at Bowie. Chairman Robert W. Banning said Tuesday he hoped to convene the five-member panel by the end of this week.
Even if the board again grants Sunday racing to the Bowie track, the issue of Sunday racing will now ultimately be decided by the state legislature with four relevant bills reviewed in Tuesday's ways and means hearing.