OTC Perception: What’s Yours?

Odenton is working hard to turn the corner.

A Matter of Perception by Stuart Title

Recently an Arundel High School student inquired as to why Odenton with the new development, still looks run down? In the remake of Odenton, this perception may be the most damning. Not just in the eyes of a local student, but in the eyes of investors and retailers looking from the outside in.

Perception is a product of the environment surrounding you, and in Odenton’s case we have Hanover with Arundel Mills, Crofton with Waugh Chapel and now Laurel Town Center surrounding us. All have high profile projects large enough to have an impact on their adjacent communities. These high profile projects tend to diminish positive changes surrounding them. Odenton too has many new, but smaller impact projects. The Flats170 at Academy Yard, Village at Odenton Station, Odenton Gateway and Town Center Commons which have added 969 residential units and 152,000 sf of retail and office space. Over 500 additional new units are also currently under construction in the Odenton Town Center core and another medical building will begin construction later this year.

In addition, the Odenton Town Center is perceived to be mostly in the form of a “major” new shopping complex where people gather to shop, eat and be entertained. Town Centers traditionally are also gathering places in communities centralized around a transportation hub and community buildings and structures with landmark features. Right now Odenton’s Town Center has a library, train station and a few landmark buildings.

The trouble is many of these new elements can’t be easily seen or accessed and much of the “old”, especially along Annapolis Road fronting Fort Meade, continues to be remembered by outsiders, and is all too familiar with those who live, work and have been schooled in the area.

In order to continue the momentum to change this perception, the plan to build roads and infrastructure improvements to pull all these elements together must be supported and accelerated within rather than sidetracked. Be a party to the change of perception as Odenton moves forward.