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Studies Caution Against Too Much Owings Mills Development

Two studies released by the developer revamping the Owings Mills Mall say the local market can't absorb three new development projects.

Two studies released by the developers looking to conclude that the Owings Mills area does not have the infrastructure or retail demand to support three new retail projects.

Kimco, the mall developer, hired Streetsense and Wells & Associates to research and write the reports.

“This market only will bear so much retail,” said Geoff Glazer, vice president of acquisitions and development for the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions for mall redeveloper Kimco.

Glazer released the traffic impact and retail market analysis Wednesday during a news conference in one of the many vacant spaces inside the Owings Mills Mall, which currently has a 55 percent vacancy rate, including a movie theater and restaurant park.

The reports conclude that the Owings Mills area does not have the retail demand to support all three projects that have been proposed for the Owings Mills area.  

In addition to the mall redevelopment Kimco is doing in partnership with General Growth Properties, David S. Brown Enterprises is building the transit-oriented , and Greenberg Gibbons, in partnership with Vanguard Commercial Property Development, is proposing , a Wegmans-anchored retail and office center at the site of Solo Cup on Reisterstown Road.

Developers for the mall renovation and Metro Centre have argued that Foundry Row would and create additional problems, such as traffic congestion.

“The worst outcome of a high amount of concentration or retail development for Owings Mills would be the inability to absorb the inventory, resulting in widespread market deterioration,” the retail analysis said.

The Baltimore County Council would have to approve a zoning change for the Solo Cup property from manufacturing to a retail classification in order for Foundry Row to go forward.

If all three projects are completed as planned, Owings Mills and the surrounding area would have almost a half-million square feet of retail in excess of demand, according to the report written by Streetsense.

“The bigger issue is the interpretation that everything can happen, and I keep going back to the supply-demand issue,” Glazer said.

The report's commercial space figures account for just under 200,000 vacant square feet along Reisterstown Road, as well as the 1.17 million square feet of proposed retail that would be created among the Owings Mills Mall, Metro Center and Foundry Row.

Glazer said prospective retailers for the mall are waiting to see if the zoning for Foundry Row is approved before entering serious talks about coming to the Owings Mills Mall.

“My market study tells that if [Foundry Row] happens out there, I will have a very difficult time having anything ever happen here,” he said.

The traffic study, which focused on six intersections near the Owings Mills Mall, projects what traffic will look like in 2021, with and without development at Foundry Row.

Currently, the only failing intersection is Painters Mill Road and Lyons Mill Road, which will be corrected by the planned extension of Owings Mills Boulevard to Liberty Road, Glazer said. If only the Owings Mills Mall redevelopment were to happen, the existing infrastructure would suffice, Wells & Associates concluded.

If Foundry Row were built with no road improvements, three intersections would be failing, two only during the evening commute, according to the Wells report. But if Foundry Row is built with planned State Highway Administration Improvements and five other improvements recommended by the report, there would be no failing intersections.

Foundry Row developer Greenberg Gibbons is pledging to devote $5 million-$6 million in off-site road improvements, some of which were recommended by the highway administration. The company also plans to build a three-lane road behind Foundry Row that would parallel Reisterstown Road and install a traffic signal at the new road’s intersection with Painters Mill.

A traffic study on Foundry Row has yet to be released, but an economic impact study will be released at a news conference Tuesday. The traffic study for the mall development does not account for all of Foundry Row’s proposed road improvements.

Lisa March 23, 2012 at 01:28 PM
Kimco & Brown have had how many years to put their money where their mouths are? The MetroCenter sat for how long until the recent development began? The mall has been going under for years and it STILL sits there with no progress. Wegmans is ready to demolish the old solo cup location in the next few months and start to build next year. Who is showing more interest in OM now?
Chuck Burton March 23, 2012 at 01:50 PM
The "old hands" (Kimco & Brown) have been sitting on them all these years and look at where it has left Owings Mills. Now new blood wants to come in and like a couple of idle old men they mutter away over their canes at how they don't want the world to change. Except maybe to get older. Get with it, K & B!
Lake3270 March 23, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Survey the RESIDENTS FOOLS !!! Anyone you asked wants Wegmans at the Solo Site ..you guys waited too FREAKING long to do something with the mall and metro site. Figure out the traffic issue. Just make it happen! Why can't OM support all the retail development? You have plenty of residents going to other counties to spent $$$$$
ddbs00 March 24, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Indeed. There's not a single person I've run across who's heard about Wegmans coming to the SOLO site and doesn't want to see it there. There's not nearly as much excitement about the mall being redeveloped.
Tim Lewis May 19, 2012 at 11:43 AM
Ive talked to Vicki Almond's office and she favors the wegmans project but apparently Councilman Oliver from Randallstown is against it. I dont understand why anyone would be against this project unless they are in David Brown's pocket. The Metro Center project is a complete dud and has been dragging on forever. Bug Councilman Almond and Olivers offices to get this done!

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