NewsLocal News


Five-story mixed-use building moves forward in downtown Bel Air

Rendering of The Standard on Bond
Rendering of The Standard on Bond
Rendering of The Standard on Bond
Posted at 12:43 PM, May 22, 2024

BEL AIR, Md. — The town of Bel Air has been looking into ways to redevelop its downtown core and attract more businesses and residents, since at least 2016.

Now, a major new project is moving forward on Bond Street, one of the main areas targeted for a building boost.

It's called The Standard on Bond, and it is set to be a five-story building at the northern end of Bond Street, with 30 luxury apartments and 25,880 square feet of commercial space.

The first floor would have a restaurant, with indoor and outdoor seating. The fifth floor is "likely to contain office space."

The project will be centered around the former location of The Church of Reconciliation, across from West Lee Street.

Jason Watts, managing partner for general contractor UrbanBuilt LLC, said there are potential tenants, including a restaurant, but he does not want to officially announce them until the lease is signed.

He did note that "it's been a pretty popular project" for prospective businesses.

Construction is slated to start this year, and be completed by January 2026. UrbanBuilt wrote that the 50,000-square-foot project "promises to redefine urban living and working."

The apartment rent prices will start at $2,000 monthly.

The planning commission approved the plan on April 4. The commission's report notes that nearby Bel Air Elementary School is at 106 percent capacity; the town allows new development until schools are at 110 percent over capacity.

The project fits into community leaders' efforts to build on the ongoing revitalization of the Harford County seat, by "exploring ways to expand up and out through greater building heights and densities as well as strategic annexation opportunities," said the Bel Air Downtown Alliance.

The "Bond Street Build-Out Concept" is one of five priority projects identified by the town; the Downtown Alliance commissioned a 2016 market study of Bel Air.

The study noted:

Bond Street is a great opportunity for infill development of primarily upscale multi-family residential buildings of 3-4 stories with some active ground floor uses such as retail and entertainment. This concept involves the development of privately owned surface parking areas fronting Main Street...

The developer, Belle Aire Development Partners, added that they reached out to nearby residents, including knocking on doors, and reduced the project's density and height after getting feedback at a zoning appeal hearing.

The developer is also spending more than $100,000 in the community and entered into a land lease with "great neighbor" Harford Mutual to create a pocket park on green space that's currently on the property.

The pocket park will include monuments honoring "different stages of the town of Bel Air through history."