A ceremony was held yesterday (on what would have been Mr. Rouse’s 108th birthday) to dedicate the refurbished gatehouse at the Village of Cross Keys to James Rouse, the iconic original developer of the property.
State Delegates Samuel I. “Sandy” Rosenberg, Dalya Attar and D. Antonio “Tony” Bridges, Baltimore City Councilmember Sharon Green Middleton along with Jim Rouse’s son Ted and developer Arsh Mirmiran of Caves Valley Partners participated in the ceremony during which a plaque commemorating the dedication was unveiled.
The Village of Cross Keys was Jim Rouse’s first mixed-use project and served as the prototype for the future development of Columbia, Maryland, Rouse’s ideal community. Both developments served as model projects for mixed-use properties across the country.
The land was acquired for development from the Baltimore Country Club in the early 1960s. Rouse envisioned a village where residents were positioned around a central area that would meet the everyday needs of residents. This included a grocer, deli, and other retail that would also serve the broader Roland Park community. To complete the village idea, Rouse planned offices and recreational facilities such as swimming pools, tennis courts, and a hotel.
During the ceremony, Mirmiran quoted Mr. Rouse: “There is a real need, we believe, for residential developments in which there is a strong sense of community; a need to feed into the city some of the atmosphere and pace of the small town and village; a need to create a community which can meet as many as possible of the needs of the people who live there; which can bring these people into natural contact with one another; which can produce out of those relationships a spirit and feeling of neighborliness and a rich sense of belonging to a community…”*
Mirmiran said, “The Village of Cross Keys you see today is essentially what Jim Rouse planned. We are striving to live up to his standards as we reinvigorate the Village of Cross Keys and complete the final pieces of his original vision.”
The inscription on the plaque unveiled at the ceremony reads as follows:
The gatehouse for the Village of Cross Keys is dedicated to James Rouse and his vision for this property as the prototype for a series of planned, mixed-use communities developed by The Rouse Company. The Village of Cross Keys will continue to pursue Mr. Rouse’s ideals, including meeting the needs of the people who live, work and shop here, while creating a spirit of neighborliness and a rich sense of belonging to the community.
Betty Cooke, who has been called “an icon within the tradition of modernist jewelry” and “a seminal figure in American Modernist studio jewelry” has operated The Store Ltd at Cross Keys since it opened in 1965 and was also in attendance at today’s event.
“Jim Rouse was not just a visionary.” said Cooke, “He was responsible for turning his vision into reality as you see at Cross Keys. Jim focused on people and delivered a quality experience to them in everything from landscaping to food.”
Renovations of the Village of Cross Keys commenced in 2020 and are ongoing. Completed work includes the gatehouse entrance roadway and landscaping improvements, and a comprehensive renovation of office lobbies and common areas. Currently, the façade at Village Square is being updated, with completion expected by this fall; garage renovations will begin in the coming months.
Future proposed additions include new restaurant and retail space with a valet zone, 450 structured parking spaces, a 330-unit luxury apartment building, EV charging stations, and a Class A office building.
About the Village of Cross Keys
Cross Keys was originally developed in 1965 by Jim Rouse, the visionary founder of The Rouse Company. The property was acquired by Baltimore-based Caves Valley Partners in July 2020 and is actively undergoing a comprehensive redevelopment, which will include the addition of over 300 apartments and new retail and office buildings.
*Better Places, Better Lives: A Biography of James Rouse by Joshua Olsen. Copyright 2003 by ULI – the Urban Land Institute.
Our Gatehouse Dedication to James Rouse received attention across Baltimore. To learn more about the event that honored Cross Keys’ beginnings and celebrated its growth over the years, check out these recent publications covering the special day: