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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Owings Mills Mall Has Died

Well here I am in the County, in order for Baltimore City to be the best it can I feel the County must also operate the best it can. Now what brought me out to the suburbs this time? I'm mourning the loss of what was supposed to be a major Retail draw for the Baltimore Area and
beyond; Owings Mills Mall. Early this year, I penned a post that Owings Mills had been dying a slow death almost since it opened in 1986 but it wasn't until the early 2000s that the illness known as Retail obsolescence began to show.
Now with the Mall on life support and its owners' financial woes improving, the decision was made to kill the Mall. The Owings Mills Community has turned its back on its beloved Mall much like Hunt Valley had done years earlier. Hunt Valley Mall was torn down except for its occupied anchors in favor of the new Hunt Valley Town Centre featuring a Wegmans and lots of new Specialty Shoppes laid out as a two level open aire plaza. This has been a huge success.
Now what does this have to do with Ownigs Mills and its dead Mall? Now that our economy may show signs of improving in the coming years, Owings Mills Mall will be demolished. Like Hint Valley, the renaming anchors are set to stay as well as the Movie Theatres and adjacent
Housing Development. Also like Hunt Valley, the plans for Owings Mills includes an open aire lifestyle center which may include some of the same shoppes that currently has shoppers flocking to Hunt Valley. One business that surely won't be coming to the new Mall is Wegmans. Don't worry the Community of Owings Mills will eventually enjoy a Wegmans only at the soon to be shuttered Solo Cup less than a mile away.
Sicne this announcement has been made very recently, it is unknown what Retailers will ultimately end up at the new Mall. One thing we do is that construction is set to begin as early as January 2013 and if all goes as planned will be finished by late 2014. Owners of the now desolate Mall feel confident that in spite of our economic down turn that the new property will be marketable to Retailers of all kinds and that leases will be signed before and during construction and by the time construction is done, the new Mall will be 100% leased.
Although the new Hunt Valley Mall has been renamed Hunt Valley Town Centre, I don't feel the new Owings Mills Mall should follow in its foot steps. I think the new Mall should be looked at as part of a greater Town Centre. Owings Mills Town Centre, from 1986 until now has always been planned as both the (in what form it's in) and the Metro Stop. As Owings Mills has been flourishing with promises of new development, the Metro Stop and the planned Metro Centre development is as old as the original Mall.
Finally. a good five years after the initial parking garages were built, a ground breaking ceremony was held to get Metro Centre underway. Coupled with the Mall, Metro Centre will make a true Town Centre for Owings Mills. Although additional Retail, Residences, and
Offices are planned, the new Library and Community College Branch will be the main draw for Metro Centre other than the Mtero Stop itself. One must realize that in order for Owings Mills to have a true Town Centre that both the new Mall and Metro Centre must be master planned
and developed together.
Indeed, this has the capacity not only to make Owings Mills the Retail destination it has been aching to be but in the future it can be a true TOD haven. Now why isn't it a TOD haven now? I mean the Metro Stop is there amd isn't going anywhere right? Right BUT TOD is only as
good as the transit it serves. Baltimore's Rail Transit doesn't have the drawing power as of yet to make for true TOD. In order for that to happen both the Red and Yellow Lines need to be funded and built, the Green Line whose western terminus ends at Owings Mills must be
expanded Northeast from Hopkins to White Marsh to Martin State Airport, the MARC Lines need to be localized careting the Orange and Purple Lines, and the current Light Rail Line (blue line) needs to truly meet the Green Line at Lexington Market and the State Center/Cultural Center. Then and only then can Baltimore have TRUE TOD.
Well to sum the necessity of this post, Owings Mills Mall has died, and although I'm mourning said passing and the gold mine of blogging material it has given me over the years, it's time to move on to bigger and better things such as redevelopment, Metro Centre, Rail Transit Expansion, and finally true TOD. Lets do it right this time!

1 comment:

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