Is it Towson's newest old building or oldest new building?
No matter how you slice it, officials on Thursday cut the ribbon at Towson City Center, marking the grand opening of the new headquarters for MileOne Automotive.
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The event was a celebration for Caves Valley Partners, as well. The developer purchased the abandoned Investment Building in 2010 and embarked on a for the 50-year-old tower.
"This building had devolved into a vacant blight on downtown Towson. Five years ago, my partners at Caves Valley Partners had a vision of what could happen here if certain hurdles could be overcome and the right people came together," said Arthur Adler, one of the partners in Caves Valley Partners.
As part of its move, MileOne consolidated its headquarters and support staff in the tower, along with training areas for their 3,200 employees at dealerships and service centers from Elizabeth City, NC to Wilkes-Barre, PA. Administrative staff had once been spread out between Pikesville and northern Virginia.
"We could have located our headquarters in a number of locations across the mid-Atlantic," said Steve Faber, MileOne's president and CEO. "The decision was clear, we would stay close to home and relocate to Baltimore County's county seat, in what is just an outstanding new building."
MileOne and each claimed four floors of the 12-story building, which is now fully leased. The university's four clinics, operated as the Institute of Well-Being in the university's College of Health Professions, will officially open in September. New studios for public radio station are under construction on the tower's plaza level.
Other tenants include BusinessSuites, WMS Partners, Remedi and Cunningham Kitchen, a farm-to-table restaurant operated by the Bagby Restaurant Group.
In a matter of months, county officials say, the new tenants will inject 500 new jobs into downtown Towson.
"It's helping to jumpstart a lot of other projects," said County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.
These new faces will patronize Towson businesses and enjoy Towson events, creating a ripple effect throughout the region that could "open the eyes" of other businesses, said Nancy Hafford, executive director for the .
"Because of the economy, some of the restaurants and shops were just barely holding on. But they were holding on because they had a hope and this building coming in," Hafford said. "They never, ever anticipated when it opened that it would be 100 percent full all the way. That means so much to all of us."