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.
“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.