Skip to comments.After nearly a half-century, Maryland House to close its doors
Posted on 09/11/2012 12:01:47 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
At one minute past midnight on Sept. 16, a state landmark known by millions of motorists will go dark.
Employees will say their goodbyes before the doors and off-ramps are barricaded at Maryland House, the Interstate 95 travel plaza in Harford County that opened in 1963. Within weeks, wrecking crews will level the neo-Georgian brick structure to make way for a new building, the flagship of an ambitious public-private partnership valued at a half-billion dollars.
The same night, the smaller Chesapeake House in Cecil County will change as new vendors replace old ones. In a year, it too will come down to make way for a modern structure.
For the 2.8 million travelers who annually use Maryland House believed to be the nation's busiest travel plaza and the 2.1 million Chesapeake House visitors, the change in scenery may come as a shock, state officials acknowledge.
"But we're getting two new facilities without spending state money. There are very few opportunities for state government like this," said Harold Bartlett, executive director of the Maryland Transportation Authority, which owns the sites.
Replacement of the two plazas began in 2006 when state officials concluded the stops were "well beyond their useful life." After the initial bidding failed to generate much enthusiasm, the state decided to restructure the deal as a partnership.
Areas USA, a newcomer to the U.S. highway service industry, beat out Bethesda-based HMS Host, the operator for 25 years. The Miami-based company presented a more enticing package to state officials, promising to spend $56 million to replace both plazas and return as much as $488 million to the state over 35 years.
HMS Host has sued the state and Areas, claiming improper bidding procedures. The case is pending in Baltimore City Circuit Court.
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Maryland “Freak State” PING!
I usually stop there when I drive down.
Public-Private Partnership..... taxpayers fund it and someone else keeps the profit-if any.
“But we’re getting two new facilities without spending state money
Good. This is good news. I see nothing wrong with updating buildings or whatever especially from funding from another source. 50 years is not long enough for complaining about a building being replaced.
Not good news for the people they couldn’t rehire. Feel sorry for the woman that started as a waitress 25 years ago and worked her way into management. It’s tough out there.
There is no convenient alternative. Such a pain to get off 95 south of Maryland House until one gets past Quantico in NoVa. When I drive up and down I-95 need a break after dealing with DC-Baltimore traffic or get ready to tackle that area in heading south.
“Now, it’s the same generic garbage you get everywhere.”
It is very hard to fight the food industry. Major producers of mass produced, homogenized processed crap can afford lobbyists. Local, small scale producers cannot.
I remember the Maryland House being relatively upscale back in the mid-to-late 60’s... It is past due for an updating.
Put in Chick-fil-A’s and I’ll stop. I can’t stand Sbarro.
Before this section of I-95 opened people travelled highway 40 through Maryland.
Back then there were gambling joints with slot machines at some of the restaurants and gas stops all along highway 40.
I live in Aberdeen at Exit 85-2 miles north of MD House. Bob Evans, McDonalds, BK Lounge, Taco Bell, Subway, 4-5 gas stations, a few local restaurants are just off the exit. Stop in, I’m sure they;d love your business.
“level the neo-Georgian brick structure to make way for a new building, the flagship of an ambitious public-private partnership valued at a half-billion dollars.”
“the smaller Chesapeake House ... will come down to make way for a modern structure.”
“Modern” = bland utilitarian stupid pretentious garbage.
I liked the MD House, so handsome. Good old-fashioned robust masculine style.
Any Saudi or Soros money involved? If not, it sounds good. I have visited both sites thousands of times, since I have driven the east coast frequently since 1968. I hope the new ones will have both the large restaurant mall and the conveniently small bathrooms-only pit stop that Chesapeake used to have.