Many residents have been inquiring about the status of the Ruby Tuesday site in the River Hill Village Center. Although the former restaurant and parking lot are within the Village Center, the property is not owned or maintained by Kimco Realty which owns most of the center. A general decline in maintenance of the property has been a source of frustration for the River Hill Community Association (RHCA), Kimco Realty, and the Howard Hughes Corporation (HHC) for a few years. HHC is the entity that has architectural control and enforcement responsibilities for the village center and even they have been stymied. After the Ruby Tuesday chain was sold to a private equity firm in 2017 it became impossible to get issues addressed. When the restaurant closed, Kimco Realty resorted to having their landscaping contractor per-form very basic site maintenance just to minimize the site’s impact on the rest of the center.
While the association had heard the property was up for sale, nothing had been confirmed until recently. In mid-February, the Baltimore Business Journal published an article that gave us reason to think change might be on the way. The article noted that JPMorgan Chase & Co “…plans to open up 70 retail branches in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia over the next five years, including 20 in Greater Baltimore.” The same article stated that in February JPMorgan Chase had applied to the U.S. Treasury Department for a branch in Clarksville. The association can now confirm that JP-Morgan Chase’s Clarksville branch is being planned for the former Ruby Tuesday site in the village center. The association was contacted in late April by a representative from Corestates Group, a national architectural, engineering and construction firm, inquiring about the redevelopment process. Since then, we have learned that Corestates is working on behalf of JPMorgan Chase. If the branch comes to fruition, it will be the 5th bank in the River Hill Village Center. Given the likelihood of a bank going into the River Hill Square center, on the site of the former River Hill Garden Center, Clarksville now has the potential to have 9 banks. The association recognizes that among area locals, a bank is not a popular choice for a new business in the community.
Representatives from Corestates and JP Morgan Chase will share their initial concept design with the public at the association’s Board of Directors’ meeting on Monday, June 3. The meeting will be held at Claret Hall, begins at 7 p.m., and is open to residents. River Hill residents will have an opportunity to comment during the Speak Out portion of the agenda. Please note, this is the first of many meetings that will be held on the project. Per Howard County’s development regulations and given that the property is New Town zoned, in a Columbia village center, and that the county’s Clarksville Pike Streetscape Plan and Design Guidelines will need to be factored in, there will be additional opportunities for the public to learn about the project and provide input.