The joke in Towson is that its town bird is the construction crane. More than a half dozen of them are part of the skyline, as Towson transforms into what one developer said will rival College Park as Maryland’s best college town.

There is excitement about what Towson is becoming, as well as concern about what all of those changes will mean for Baltimore County’s county seat.

Greenberg Gibbons is developing Towson Row, which will be a mix of stores, restaurants and apartments at the center of town. Chief Executive Officer Brian Gibbons recently gave a tour of the construction site.

“The hotel is right there,” Gibbons said, pointing to cleared land near Towsontown Boulevard. “The retail is here. Student housing here. And literally Whole Foods is where that truck is.”

Apartments for nearly 700 college students are slated to open in time for them to move in next August. On the other side of the street, housing for several hundred more students is expected to open in 2021, along with 200 additional apartments for non-students and Whole Foods. Throw in some other stores, restaurants, two hotels, offices, and a parking garage, and you have a lot of new construction on five acres.

Gibbons said that’s the idea: To make it dense and walkable. Gibbons said Towson will rival his alma mater for Maryland’s best college town.

“I love College Park but it doesn’t have the walkable amenities that Towson University is going to have,” Gibbons said.

Read full article and listen: Towson Transformation Under Way | WYPR