How One Major Ellicott City Landlord Plans To Recover From Deadly Flood
One of Ellicott City’s most prominent property owners, whose buildings suffered millions of dollars in damages in this week's flooding, says he hopes to relocate some tenants to an empty downtown building once Main Street reopens.
The tenants could include a gift and souvenir shop from the owner of beloved clothing and home décor boutique Sweet Elizabeth Jane, whose main store was gutted July 30. Owner Tammy Beideman says she had hoped to open a new shop in a building that was severely damaged by the flood at 8129 Main St (pictured).
Both leases were with properties owned or partly owned by Dr. Bruce Taylor of Historic Ellicott Properties. The psychiatrist, whose family has invested in and owned properties in the area for decades, has an interest in nearly a dozen downtown Ellicott City buildings affected by the flood. Three are owned with partners Donald Reuwer and Jared Spahn.
“It’s been a severe blow to Ellicott City and to us,” Bruce says of the flood.
The flood washed out part of a wall in the former home of Taylor’s Antique Mall, at the intersection of Main Street and Old Columbia Pike, Bruce says. But since it sits higher up than the lower part of town ravaged by the flood, it suffered less damage and could potentially be repaired in a couple of weeks, leaving 6k SF available for occupancy, Bruce says.
Tammy says she is actively looking for space for a pop-up shop and would consider moving into the former Taylor’s spot.
“I am working on a contingency plan because we need to get moving as soon as possible,” Tammy says. “We have 16 employees and we all need to get back to work.”
Tammy’s lease for the new shop was set to take effect a day after the flood and open Sept. 24.
Downtown Ellicott City cleanup efforts were halted Wednesday after officials shut down Main Street after declaring that two buildings were structurally unsound and could collapse at any moment. Neither belong to Bruce, but the storm destroyed the inventory in several of his buildings, including the ones that housed Sweet Elizabeth Jane (pictured) and HorseSpirit Arts Gallery.
After a review by a structural engineer Thursday morning, Bruce says he believes that the severely damaged buildings can be salvaged. Reconstructed buildings will be built with safer materials while retaining a historic look.
“It’s something we’ll recover from,” Bruce says. “Ellicott City has been resilient and has recovered from a number of unfortunate disasters.”
The Rosenstock building at 8095 Main St, the home of furniture and home goods store Shoemaker Country, suffered less structural damage because of its newer construction and use of concrete and steel materials, Bruce says.
“It was built to withstand a flood,” Bruce says.
The building could be cleaned up in a month or two, Bruce says.
But the inventory loss was more substantial, between $200k and $500k, estimates store co-manager John Shoemaker, whose parents Tom and Susan Shoemaker own the store. He has set up a home office and furniture production continues at his brother’s workshop so they can fulfill orders.
Described as a once-in-a-millennium event, Saturday’s storms brought six inches of rain in two hours, leaving two people dead and hundreds trapped in restaurants for hours. A Maryland National Guard helicopter helped remove materials from the area on Wednesday and county executive Alan Kittleman (pictured) vowed to rebuild the town.
The tragedy prompted an outpouring of support from local business owners and residents who have organized fundraisers and GoFundMe pages to aid those affected by the disaster. The picturesque former mill town is known for its quirky, independent shops and restaurants that attract visitors from around the state.